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Top Pitching Prospects For Fantasy Baseball 2024

Every pitching prospect that could contribute in 2024.

Every pitching prospect on every team who could debut in 2024, broken down and analyzed by the Pitcher List dynasty staff, MLB team by team.

 

AL Central

By: Matt Heckman (@heckman_matt115)

Detroit Tigers

Wilmer Flores, RHP (Double-A, 6′ 4″, 22)

Year Highest Level IP ERA WHIP K% BB% SwStr
2022 A+/AA 103.1 2.79 1.01 30.8% 5.5% 14.6%
2023 A+/AA 89.0 4.65 1.31 24.0% 8.8% 12.6%

Overview: The Tigers signed Flores as an undrafted free agent following the shortened 2020 draft. Flores has made a name for himself by carrying high strikeout rates throughout his Minor League career. Injuries and early struggles skewed his 2023 stat line but he showed steady improvement as the season moved along.

Four-Seamer: The four-seam is Flores’ favorite pitch to throw. Inconsistent velocity points to relief risk, but the pitch can touch 98 mph on the gun at its best.

Cutter: Perhaps the most important pitch in Flores’ arsenal. He relies on the pitch heavily especially against lefties to try and generate groundballs.

Curveball: Flores’ go to out pitch once he gets to two strikes on righties. The pitch features big break and high spin that generates plenty of whiffs. His reliance on the pitch against lefties has exploited its spotty control.

Changeup: This is the pitch that could take Flores to the next level. Flores worked with Tread Athletics this past off-season to help develop it. Right now, he is clearly still not comfortable throwing it consistently.

Biggest Concern: There is plenty of relief risk in Flores’ profile. If his changeup never fully develops, Flores could shift to the pen instead of sticking in the rotation.

Conclusion: Although it is unlikely Flores will ever be a Top-30 fantasy starter, there is plenty of intrigue to his profile. A solid fastball/cutter combination paired with a plus-breaking pitch is a solid base if Flores can ever develop his changeup. Considering Detroit will need to add Flores to the 40-man, he is likely to debut next season. Expect him up around the All-Star Break as opposed to targeting him in drafts.

ETA: June 2024

 

Ty Madden, RHP (Double-A, 6′ 3″, 23)

Year Highest Level IP ERA WHIP K% BB% SwStr
2022 A+/AA 122.2 3.01 1.10 26.5% 7.6% 13.0%
2023 AA 118.0 3.43 1.28 29.7% 10.2% 14.6%

 

 

Overview: Madden has done nothing but impress since being drafted 32nd overall back in 2021. His stuff really seemed to come to life after a midseason promotion in 2022 to Double-A. There he posted a 34.5% strikeout rate and a 2.78 ERA. He uses his starter’s frame and four-pitch mix to effectively throw strikes. His wind-up and three-quarter release point can create some deception for opposing batters making him difficult to hit.

Four-Seamer: When everything is going right for Madden, he is getting whiffs with his fastball. Particularly, he is locating the pitch up in the zone with run inside to righties. The fastball sits consistently in the mid-90s and is clearly the pitch Madden feels most comfortable with

Slider: This is Madden’s favorite pitch to throw when he is looking for a strikeout. Madden’s version of the slider takes the shape of a gyro as opposed to a sweeper. The pitch has effective break although the shape on it can be inconsistent at times. He has a tendency to hang one or two to lefties which can get him in trouble.

Curveball: Although Madden does throw both a curveball and slider, it can be difficult to differentiate the two. He is more comfortable throwing the slider and only throws a handful of curveballs per game.

Changeup: This is the biggest question mark in Madden’s profile. When Madden decided to throw it, the pitch has excellent movement sitting 84-86. If thrown right, the pitch has late downward action that can generate plenty of swings right over it. The issue is that he is not comfortable throwing it very often which limits his success against lefties.

Biggest Concern: Getting lefties out is the biggest issue in Madden’s profile. This past season, Madden held righties to a .197 batting average while lefties hit .267 with 12 home runs. His reliance on the high fastball will likely get him in trouble with the longball although playing home games in Comerica Park should help.

Conclusion: Madden’s profile looks more like a starter’s than the previously mentioned Flores, but we still are not talking about a future ace. Madden will need to learn how to locate his fastball down in order to ever reach his full potential. Considering Madden turns 24 in February, we should see him in Detroit next season. However, I would not count on him to be a significant contributor worth stashing on draft day.

ETA: July 2024

 

Jackson Jobe, RHP (Double-A, 6′ 2″, 21)

Year Highest Level IP ERA WHIP K% BB% SwStr
2022 A/A+ 77.1 3.84 1.28 24.3% 9.0% 13.5%
2023 A/A+/AA 64 2.81 0.98 32.6% 2.3% 14.4%

Overview: Anytime a high school pitcher gets drafted at third overall, you know the potential is high. Although it took some time for Jobe to live up to the expectations, everything seemed to click this year. Injuries delayed the start of his season, but he wound up finishing with a 2.81 ERA in 16 starts. His 33.5% strikeout rate was impressive, but his 2.6% walk rate was even more exciting. He is currently pitching in the AFL which will help get his inning totals up looking ahead to 2024.

Four-Seamer: Although the velocity on his fastball tapers off a bit as his starts move along, he still manages to sit 95/96 consistently. What sets Jobe apart from other starters is his ability to throw this pitch in any location. He effectively changes the eye level of the batter and routinely executes his fastball over the bottom-outside corner.

Slider: The slider is the pitch that first put Jobe on the map. Sitting in the low 80s, the pitch averages an RPM of over 3,000 diving down and away to righties. After struggling to consistently locate the pitch in his first professional season, the pitch looked virtually unhittable this year.

Cutter: Jobe does not rely on this pitch much, but it is effective in keeping batters off his four-seamer. The pitch sits 92/93 on the gun and is primarily used against left-handed batters.

Changeup: The effectiveness of Jobe’s changeup is the most underrated part of his game. He has confidence throwing the pitch to both lefties and righties and generates plenty of whiffs. Sitting in the mid to upper 80s, another plus-breaking pitch raises his ceiling even higher.

Biggest Concern: From a 2024 outlook, the biggest concern is how many innings the team will allow him to throw. Long-term, there are not many concerns except the lack of elite movement on his four-seam fastball. The continued development of his cutter could make the difference between an SP 2/3 and an ace.

Conclusion: There are not many pitching prospects with more upside than Jackson Jobe. He has by far the most in Detroit’s system and could be an elite contributor as soon as he comes up. The issue is that there are other options ahead of Jobe in the pecking order and Detroit will want to be extremely careful with their talented young arm.

ETA: July 2024

 

Sawyer-Gipson Long, RHP (MLB, 6′ 4″, 25)

Year Highest Level IP ERA WHIP K% BB% SwStr
2022 A+/AA 123 4.32 1.17 23.9% 5.5% 13.9%
2023 MLB Stats 20 2.70 1.10 31.7% 9.8% 15.8%

 

 

Overview: Well, we already know that we will see Sawyer-Gipson Long in 2024 because he made his debut in 2023. Gipson-Long was one of the best stories of the final month, pitching excellent for Detroit after his promotion. His Major League strikeout rate—north of 30%—speaks to his upside, although his Minor League ERAs leave plenty to be cautious about.

Four-Seamer: The four-seam fastball is nothing that jumps off the page. Routinely sitting in the mid to low 90s, the pitch is not even SGL’s go-to fastball. The usage of this pitch jumps significantly when facing left-handed batters although his control of it is spotty at best. His 99th percentile allows the pitch to play up beyond the mediocre velocity.

Sinker: If Gipson-Long is going to rely on one fastball over the other, he should prioritize his sinker. The sinker comes with nearly 29″ of vertical drop on it helping to keep the ball in the park. He effectively locates the pitch down in the zone which is key to producing ground balls.

Slider: You often hear the phrase “crafty lefty” tossed around, but nobody ever talks about crafty righties. Gipson-Long has an excellent feel for his slider and will throw it in any count to any batter. Sitting around 82 mph, the pitch generated impressive whiff rates in his small Major League sample.

Changeup: Just as impressive as SGL’s slider is his changeup. Gipson-Long relies heavily on the pitch, throwing it more than either of his fastballs. He is not afraid to throw the pitch to righties which helps him keep even the best hitters off balance.

Biggest Concern: Pitchers without true feel for a fastball always carry some risk. One of the biggest issues for Gipson-Long in the Minor Leagues was preventing the long ball primarily off of his four-seam fastball.

Conclusion: Gipson-Long is difficult to evaluate. You do not often think of sinker-ball pitchers generating a lot of strikeouts, but that is exactly what he has done. Looking forward, his best chance of success is likely ditching his four-seam which should cause some regression in the K department. He profiles as a 3/4 starter in a rotation and could be worth taking a shot on during your drafts. I would avoid him in formats such as Ottoneu where home runs are more costly.

ETA: June 2024

 

Bryan Sammons, LHP (Triple-A, 6′ 4″, 28)

Year Highest Level IP ERA WHIP K% BB% SwStr
2022 AA 850 5.76 1.30 26.9% 8.2% 12.6%
2023 AA/AAA 82 4.83 1.46 26.2% 10.5% 11.6%

 

Overview: Bryan Sammons was originally drafted by Minnesota in the eighth round way back in 2018. He progressed slowly through the Minor Leagues with strong strikeout rates but poor walk rates and a high ERA. A rough couple of seasons in 2021 and 2022 led to Sammons’ release. He signed briefly with Houston before officially landing with Detroit for the entire 2023 season.

Four-Seamer: Sammons’ stuff is more quantity over quality. His four-seam sits just above 90 mph. Last year in Triple-A, the pitch got pummeled with an average exit velocity of over 92 mph.

Sinker: The sinker did not fair much better than his four-seam. With an inability to consistently locate the pitch down in the zone, the sinker struggles to perform consistently. The pitch features 15.8 inches of vertical break but is not a go-to pitch for Sammons.

Slider: His slider is where you see the most potential. He is most comfortable working with his breaking stuff and the slider is his most used pitch. He can use it effectively against lefties, but struggles to get swings and misses with the pitch against righties.

Curveball: Sammons’ curveball sits in the high-70s and can sometimes be difficult to differentiate from his slider. From limited looks, he tends to rely on this more heavily against righties but only generated a whiff rate of 16.7%.

Biggest Concern: Sammons has an obvious inability to throw strikes consistently. The highest zone percentage he posted while with Triple-A was 58% on the sinker. With underwhelming stuff, Sammons is clearly afraid to miss out over the zone and when he does, Minor League hitters have had no trouble making him pay.

Conclusion: Despite high strikeout rates throughout his Minor League career, there is not much, if any, upside to Sammons’ profile. Sammons will turn 29 in April of next season and is likely only going to come up if Detroit needs somebody to eat innings. He is not worth paying attention to for fantasy.

ETA: June 2024

 

Kansas City Royals

William Fleming, RHP (Double-A, 6′ 6″, 24)

Year Highest Level IP ERA WHIP K% BB% SwStr
2022 A/A+ 122.1 5.00 1.38 18.4% 7.9% 10.9%
2023 A+/AA 107.1 4.11 1.42 19.5% 7.3% 9.1%

 

Overview: Fleming was an eleventh-round draft pick by the Mariners before also joining the Royals at the 2022 trade deadline. His violent wind-up ends with a full arm extension with a surprisingly low release point. He turns 25 before the start of the 2024 season and has yet to prove there is any significant upside in his profile.

Four-Seamer: Fleming gets decent velocity on his fastball, but according to FanGraphs, the pitch lacks any real shape. Without impressive velocity or any spin, the pitch generates hardly any swings and misses.

Slider: His slider sits around 78 mph with good movement down and away to righties. This is Fleming’s best swing-and-miss pitch and is the only true plus pitch in his arsenal.

Changeup: While researching Fleming, I was unable to come across any real scouting report on his changeup. The limited video I was able to find did not provide any clips of it either. The pitch is only given a FV of 40 on FanGraphs and is unlikely to be an impactful pitch at any point.

Biggest Concern: The lack of strikeouts and a true third pitch limits the overall ceiling in Fleming’s profile. Either the changeup will need to improve, or his fastball will need to gain velocity if he is ever going to hold any fantasy relevance.

Conclusion: The best-case scenario at this point seems like a bulk man out of the bullpen. Due to the lack of depth in Kansas City’s rotation, we could see Fleming get a chance in the Major Leagues next season. There is not currently a path for him to fantasy-relevant.

ETA: September 2024

 

Will Klein, RHP (Triple-A, 6′ 5″, 23)

Year Highest Level IP ERA WHIP K% BB% SwStr
2022 AA 43.2 10.51 2.43 23.7% 22.0% 8.0%
2023 AA/AAA 64.1 4.62 1.66 30.5% 12.5% 14.9%

Overview: Klein is already a true reliever pitching for Kansas City’s Triple-A affiliate. Klein, a former fifth-round pick, has a big-time fastball paired with secondaries that have been able to induce plenty of whiffs. Control will be the key to seeing what situations he pitches in for the Royals.

Four-Seamer: Not only does Will Klein stand at 6’5″ on the mound, but the extension he gets through his delivery makes his already high-velocity fastball seem even faster. The pitch already sits at 97 with over five inches of arm-side run on it. He gets a ton of whiffs for a four-seam and loves to work up in the zone.

Cutter: His high spin cutter sits between 87-90 and produced a 48.6% whiff rate in Triple-A this season. According to FanGraphs, the pitch is still relatively new, but early indications point to this being a plus offering.

Curveball: After being drafted, Klein relied heavily on his curveball before the introduction to his cutter. The pitch features over 13 inches of induced vertical break although his whiff rate on this was disappointing.

Biggest Concern: The biggest issue for Klein throughout his professional career has been walks. He walked over 14% of batters in Triple-A this season and is unlikely to get high-leverage innings if he cannot throw strikes consistently.

Conclusion: The pure stuff is here for Klein to turn himself into a back-end arm out of the Royals’ bullpen. With the job seemingly wide open into 2024, he is a dark horse candidate for saves. With two plus offerings already, the key to reaching his ceiling is how well his control develops.

ETA: May 2024

 

Noah Cameron, LHP (Double-A, 6′ 3″, 24)

Year Highest Level IP ERA WHIP K% BB% SwStr
2022 A/A+ 65.2 3.56 1.13 36.7% 5.9% 17.9%
2023 A+/AA 107.1 5.28 1.40 28.3% 7.5% 15.2%

Overview: A low-velocity lefty with solid secondaries, Cameron fits the mold of a back-end starter. Despite posting high strikeout rates throughout the lower levels of the Minor Leagues, there is little in his profile that suggests there is significant long-term upside from a fantasy perspective.

Four-Seamer: Cameron’s fastball is the most underwhelming pitch in his arsenal. The pitch sits right around 90 mph consistently. He has shown the ability to touch as high as 94 and can cut in on right-handers.

Changeup: According to many scouts, the best part of Cameron’s changeup is his ability to hide it. The pitch sits in the low 80s and his excellent deception helps the pitch play better than it should. This is one of two go-to pitches for Cameron once he gets to two strikes.

Curveball: Once Cameron gets to two strikes, you better believe he is breaking out his curveball. The big-bender sits around 81 mph and is a pitch he has become especially comfortable throwing over the past year. This profiles as a plus pitch to attack left-handed batters with.

Biggest Concern: Although his windup allows his fastball and stuff to play up beyond their metrics, the low velocity is a potential issue moving forward. We saw his strikeout rate drop this season from 40.8% in High-A to 22.8% in Double-A. Cameron could continue to struggle against tougher competition.

Conclusion: With no need to add Cameron to the 40-man roster this off-season, he is likely behind several other arms in the pecking order for starts. That being said, he has a strong track record of success at the lower levels of the Minor Leagues and profiles to be a back-end starter long-term. If he happens to draw any starts against teams that struggle to hit lefties, he could be worth a stream in your fantasy leagues.

ETA: September 2024

 

Chicago White Sox

Cristian Mena, RHP (Triple-A, 6′ 2″, 20)

Year Highest Level IP ERA WHIP K% BB% SwStr
2022 A/A+/AA 104.1 3.80 1.32 28.7% 8.7% 15.7%
2023 AA/AAA 133.2 4.85 1.41 26.9% 11.0% 14.8%

Overview: The pandemic delayed Mena’s professional debut until 2021 when he looked solid despite a 7.82 ERA. A lanky right-hander who comes over the top, he does not fit the mold of your prototypical power pitcher. He instead relies heavily on his secondaries which have produced high strikeout rates up to this point.

Four-Seamer: The four-seam fastball is Mena’s most used pitch although it is likely one of his worst. The combination of mediocre velocity and a desire to work up in the zone casts doubts over how well it will perform against advanced hitters.

Slider: Mena has developed a new slider grip over the past year, providing yet another breaking pitch for him to use. He is still working on the consistency (he tends to overthrow the pitch at times), but it generated a whiff over 35% of the time in Triple-A this season.

Curveball: The curveball is short of a big breaker, which is why it can be difficult to differentiate from the slider at times, but is clearly Mena’s best pitch. He will go the low-80s curve in any count to any batter and gets plenty of strikeouts with it.

Fastball Variations: According to Triple-A data, Mena incorporated both a cutter and sinker into his arsenal at times. The sinker shows up in film with solid control down in the zone sitting about 3 mph slower than his four-seam. I have not gotten looks at the cutter, but another pitch to keep hitters off of his low-90s four-seam will certainly do no harm.

Biggest Concern: There are some concerns over whether or not he will be able to maintain his high strikeout rates in Triple-A and the Major Leagues. FanGraphs wrote a piece on why this is and is something worth checking out if you have the time.

Conclusion: With a starter’s arsenal at his disposal, Mena has as much upside as any pitcher in Chicago’s system. The curveball is already a plus offering, but he will need to work on developing his fastball variations if he wants to have long-term success. He is worth keeping an eye on for 2024 and with a strong likelihood of making his debut around mid-season.

ETA: July 2024

 

Nick Nastrini, RHP (Triple-A, 6′ 3″, 23)

Year Highest Level IP ERA WHIP K% BB% SwStr
2022 A+/AA 116.2 3.93 1.11 35.1% 11.4% 15.7%
2023 AA/AAA 114.2 4.08 1.31 27.9% 10.8% 16.4%

Overview: Injuries caused Nastrini to fall to the fourth round of the 2021 draft where the Dodgers finally scooped him up. Instantly upon joining the organization, he looked like the steal of the draft with multiple plus pitches. He came to Chicago via trade this past July for Lance Lynn.

Four-Seamer: The velocity on Nastrini’s four-seam fastball is nothing to write home about (around 94 mph). Thanks to his release point and 18″ of IVB, Nastrini’s fastball generates swings and misses consistently at the top of the zone despite the pedestrian velocity.

Slider: Nastrini throws his slider in the mid-80s. The pitch has late drop on it and provides extremely high whiff rates against right-handed batters.

Curveball: The curveball comes with significantly more bend than his slider and sits closer to 79 mph. He only threw the pitch 25 times in Triple-A, but it generated a whiff rate of 66.7%.

Changeup: The best part of Nastrini’s changeup is the shape similarity between the pitch and his slider. The two pitches mimic each other in velocity and spin direction although his changeup has significantly more IVB.

Biggest Concern: Like so many Minor League pitchers with big-time stuff, Nastrini has struggled to limit his walk rates throughout the Minor Leagues. This creates some level of relief risk for Nastrini moving forward.

Conclusion: Nastrini’s high IVB fastball combined with two plus secondary offerings creates an upside not many pitchers in fantasy baseball have. If Chicago can help Nastrini produce more consistent results on the mound, he will be fantasy-relevant. For now, he profiles as a high-variance starter prone to blow-up games as well as dominant performances.

ETA: May 2024

 

Ky Bush, LHP (Double-A, 6′ 6″, 23)

Year Highest Level IP ERA WHIP K% BB% SwStr
2022 AA 103 3.67 1.18 23.7% 6.8% 14.1%
2023 AA 71.2 6.91 1.65 24.1% 11.4% 11.5%

Overview: Another acquisition made by Chicago this past Trade Deadline. Busch, a former second-round pick by the Angels, has struggled with consistency throughout his professional career. A solid repertoire of secondary pitches creates an intriguing profile, but a lack of control significantly increases the relief risk in his profile.

Four-Seamer: Bush’s fastball velocity is nothing to write home about. The pitch sits in the low-90s consistently but is aided by his delivery. Bush seems to lull batters to sleep before explosive arm action helps the fastball sneak up on hitters.

Slider: The slider is the first of Bush’s breaking balls. The pitch sits 82-84 in most games and features significant horizontal sweep to it. The shape and control on this pitch allow him to get swings and misses against both lefties and righties.

Curveball: Bush’s curveball comes with significant bend to it. The shape on the pitch varies widely from the others in his arsenal which has made it easier for right-handers to pick up on it. He is still working to improve his command, but this pitch still has plus potential.

Changeup: A clear and distant fourth pitch in Bush’s arsenal. To be an effective starter, he will need this pitch to help attack right-handed batters although the command on it is still spotty. The velocity is a tick or two faster than his slider which could allow the two pitches to form a nice one-two punch if everything clicks.

Biggest Concern: Could not decide between spotty command and mediocre fastball velocity, so I will include both. The fastball is extremely hittable since losing velocity in college and the 16 home runs he surrendered in just 71.2 innings this year is a major red flag.

Conclusion: When the Angels drafted Bush in the second round, the hope was that he could maintain his 94-96 mph velocity on the fastball. So far in a starter’s role, this is clearly not possible. That combined with his inability to throw strikes consistently could lead him to the bullpen. there are plenty of question marks in the White Sox rotation which means he will likely get a chance at some point in 2024.

ETA: July 2024

 

Jake Eder, LHP (Double-A, 6′ 4″, 25)

Year Highest Level IP ERA WHIP K% BB% SwStr
2022 DNP N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
2023 AA 56.2 6.35 1.68 26.2% 13.5% 14.5%

Overview: A fourth-round pick by Miami back in 2020, Jake Eder came over in the Jake Burger trade from this years deadline. Injuries forced Eder to miss the entire 2022 season and delayed the start to his 2023 season. On the mound, he has shown flashes of brilliance, but his inconsistent results date back to his collegiate days casting doubt over his future production.

Four-Seamer: Typically, left-handed starters carry lower velocities than righties. Eder’s fastball is one of the exceptions as the pitch sits constantly 94-96 with the ability to touch 97. He has both late rise and arm-side run to the pitch allowing it to work at the top of the zone.

Slider: When on, his slider is one of the best in all of Minor League Baseball. Eder has worked to improve the pitch’s spin rate and gets a ton of swings and misses. This slider would be classified as more of a sweeper at this point.

Changeup: This could be the key to allowing Eder to get to the next level. His changeup currently sits in the low-80s although his command on it has been inconsistent this season. Right-handed batters have had far more success against Eder so far which puts more pressure on his changeup to improve.

Biggest Concern: Inconsistencies. Eder walked over 13% of batters he faced this season with a 6.35 ERA. For as good as his stuff can be, if Eder cannot improve his command, he will continue struggling to find success on the mound.

Conclusion: The ceiling here is a left-handed version of Spencer Strider. That is high praise, but the fastball/slider combination is good enough to make that a possibility. The floor and perhaps more likely outcome is Gregory Soto. 2024 will be a big year of development for Eder and if he looks as he did back in 2021, we could see him make his Major League debut.

ETA: August 2024

 

Kohl Simas, RHP (High-A, 6′ 1″, 23)

Year Highest Level IP ERA WHIP K% BB% SwStr
2022 A/AA 68 4.24 1.32 28.8% 10.2% 11.3%
2023 A+ 82.2 6.42 1.63 26.6% 10.9% 11.3%

Overview: An undrafted free agent back in 2021, Simas has shown flashes of increased velocity with an exciting arm. A strong 2022 campaign was followed up by a disappointing 2023 season but there is still plenty of potential here if it ever fully clicks.

Four-Seamer: At the time Simas was drafted, his velocity sat in the 91-93 range. However, since joining the organization he has shown flashes of touching 96 on the heater. With the increased velocity and significant arm-side run, his fastball could be a plus pitch against right-handed batters.

Curveball: Simas throws a big bending curveball that sits in the upper-70s. The movement on it can sometimes be difficult to differentiate from a gyro slider, but when it is on the big bend can devastate right-handed hitters.

Changeup: A second off-speed pitch gets mixed in on occasion, but this is clearly not a pitch Simas is super comfortable throwing. He primarily uses it against left-handed batters, but at this point, it is more of a “show me” pitch than anything.

Biggest Concern: So far, he has been unable to hold his increased velocity deep into games and without a true third pitch he has a questionable ceiling. He also posted an ERA of over six this year casting doubt over whether he will ever reach his potential.

Conclusion: There is not a whole lot of fantasy relevance here, especially for 2024. Simas spent the entire year in High-A and his loose arm action is likely going to serve best as a reliever as opposed to a starter. That being said, his fastball/curveball combination is at least intriguing if he could ever add a third pitch.

ETA: September 2024

 

Cleveland Guardians

Joey Cantillo, LHP (Triple-A, 6′ 4″, 23)

Year Highest Level IP ERA WHIP K% BB% SwStr
2022 AA 60.2 1.93 1.09 35.5% 11.4% 17.1%
2023 AA/AAA 119.1 4.07 1.44 28.0% 12.2% 14.2%

Overview: A 16th-round draft pick way back in 2017, the path throughout the Minor Leagues has been slow and steady for Cantillo. He joined Cleveland’s organization in the Mike Clevenger trade but was far from the headline of that deal. A 1.85 ERA in 24.1 Double-A-innings to start the year put his name on the dynasty map this season. He is one of the most likely pitchers on this list to make his debut in 2024.

Four-Seamer: Fastball velocity has been the key to Cantillo’s rise through prospect ranks. He now touches as high as 98 mph and loves to work up in the zone. He limits hard contact and if he can maintain these velocity gains his ceiling could continue to rise harder.

Curveball: Cantillo’s curveball comes with significant vertical drop and is even more deceptive thanks to his low arm slot. The pitch falls down and away from lefties and generated a whiff rate of over 41% in Triple-A this past season.

Changeup: Those who have watched Cantillo pitch consistently rave about his changeup. With late drop on it, the pitch can be used as a strikeout pitch to both lefties and righties. The deception on it works in his favor and profiles to be a plus pitch.

Slider: Although his slider is not given a lot of praise on FanGraphs (35 FV), he relies on this pitch a lot. He sits around 85 mph with it and generates strong whiff rates so far in Triple-A. He is still working on commanding the pitch, but the 35 FV grade seems low.

Biggest Concern: Walks have been an issue for Cantillo throughout his Minor League career. He walked over 13% of batters this past season with far too many pitches out of the strike zone. The pitch with his highest in-zone percentage was his four-seamer and that was just 48.7%.

Conclusion: There is a starter’s arsenal here and he has shown the ability to increase velocity which could continue. We have grown to trust Cleveland’s organization and hopefully, they can get him to throw more pitches in the strike zone. If he can do this, he will be fantasy-relevant. if not, he is likely to shuttle between the MLB and Triple-A next season.

ETA: May 2024

 

Will Dion, LHP (Double-A, 5’10”, 23)

Year Highest Level IP ERA WHIP K% BB% SwStr
2022 A/A+ 128 2.11 1.01 31.0% 6.7% 15.5%
2023 A+/AA 116.2 2.39 1.08 27.9% 7.6% 13.1%

Overview: With a wind-up almost identical to Clayton Kershaw’s, there is no doubt who this young lefty grew up idolizing. Dion was a ninth-round draft pick out of McNeese State in 2021 and has dominated since joining the league. Relying heavily on his secondary pitches, Dion has had tremendous success so far. His professional ERA sits at just 2.14 with a strikeout rate of over 30%.

Four-Seamer: The velocity is this pitch is discouraging. Dion averages about 88 on the fastball although FanGraphs notes that he does get decent ride on it. Similar to Kershaw, the pitch plays up although he has yet to pitch above Double-A.

Curveball: Can I just keep comping him to Kershaw? The curveball is filthy and is borderline unhittable for lefties. This is just one of the three plus secondary offerings that Dion possesses. He has excellent feel for his upper-70s curveball and will throw it in any count. This is one of the main reasons he has been able to strike so many batters out.

Changeup: Plus breaking pitch number two is the changeup. He has increased his usage on this pitch over the years. He effectively locates the pitch in the lower part of the zone to keep hitters off balance.

Slider: Dion’s slide sits about 6 mph faster than his curveball. The pitch obviously comes with less drop than his curveball, but is still extremely effective at generating whiffs. The only concern with this pitch is that it can get flat at times leading to hanging breaking balls batters can punish.

Biggest Concern: We rarely see pitchers who sit below 90 mph with their fastball find success at the Major League level. Even with the deception he gets on the pitch, it is fair to wonder how much success he will have against Major League hitters.

Conclusion: There is no denying that Dion has some filthy secondary pitches. His control is excellent and the visual reminder of Kershaw casts excitement on his profile. Despite his superb Minor League numbers, he is likely to settle into the back end of the rotation without more velocity. The 2023 run that Cristopher Sanchez went on is likely a fair comp for his ceiling. He is likely to be matchup-dependent for fantasy managers in 2024.

ETA: June 2024

 

Tanner Burns, RHP (Double-A, 6′ 0″, 24)

Year Highest Level IP ERA WHIP K% BB% SwStr
2022 AA 88.2 3.55 1.35 23.7% 11.6% 12.4%
2023 AA 86.2 3.01 1.26 23.9% 11.4% 11.6%

Overview: Since being selected 36th overall in the 2020 draft, Burns has struggled to stay healthy. After dealing with injuries his first two seasons, he split time this year between the rotation and bullpen. The ERA has always looked good, but the peripherals point to a pitcher who could struggle as he continues progressing through the Minor Leagues

Four-Seamer: The scouting report on Burns coming out of Auburn was that he sat between 92-95. Whether it is the rigor of professional baseball or the injuries adding up, Burns velocity now sits 2-3 mph slower than it did in college. The fastball comes with good run in on right-handed batters, but Burns needs to learn how to locate the pitch down in the zone since it lacks the velocity to play at the top.

Curveball: Burns’ curveball takes a 12-6 shape. He relies on the pitch specifically to combat left-handed batters and has good command over it. Sitting in the mid-70s, the pitch profiles to be close to average.

Changeup: His changeup is a distant fourth pitch for Burns although it comes with good vertical drop. The threat of it helps keep lefties off balance, but FanGraphs only gives the pitch a future value of 35.

Slider: This is his favorite pitch and the go-to pitch when Burns is looking for a strikeout against right-handed batters. He throws it harder than his curveball and gives it a gyro-shape. There are times when it flattens out and causes issues for him, but overall it is an above-average pitch.

Biggest Concern: The lack of fastball velocity has already resulted in Burns’ strikeout rate falling since being promoted to Double-A. Without impeccable control, it is fair to wonder if Burns has what it takes to be a full-time starter.

Conclusion: When Burns was drafted, the thought was if he can add just a tick or two more to his fastball velocity, he could really take off. Instead, the velocity has dropped and he has had issues throwing strikes as consistently as he did in college. His future role is likely as a swing-man as opposed to an impactful starter.

ETA: June 2024

 

Jack Leftwich, RHP (Double-A, 6′ 4″, 25)

Year Highest Level IP ERA WHIP K% BB% SwStr
2022 A/A+ 109.1 2.72 0.91 33.0% 5.7% 16.0%
2023 AA 78 5.19 1.23 21.5% 7.7% 12.8%

Overview: Since joining Cleveland’s organization, Leftwich has shown impressive control. His first full season in 2022 saw Leftwich strike out 33% of batters with a walk rate under six percent. His three-pitch mix did not work as well this season against the tougher competition of Double-A. Control is still his best attribute although it is fair to question his upside.

Four-Seamer: After sitting in the mid-90s at the end of his collegiate career, Leftwich’s velocity has tapered off a bit. He sits 92-94 comfortably with decent arm-side run. The pitch profiles closer to average although could move up on the scale if his velocity increases.

Changeup: From the limited video I have watched, his changeup is a distant third pitch primarily used to get lefties. Other reports cite the changeup as the pitch Leftwich will need to continue developing in order to reach the Major Leagues as a starter.

Slider: This is Leftwich’s best pitch. Taking more of a gyro shape, the pitch has excellent late break on it down and away to righties. His violent wind-up creates deception on the pitch helping it to pair nicely with his fastball.

Biggest Concern: With only one pitch that profiles to have above-average potential, it is difficult to imagine Leftwich generating enough strikeouts to be fantasy-relevant.

Conclusion: As we have already started to see, Leftwich is likely to struggle in a starters role as he continues to face tougher competition. With fiery arm action, he could find success in a reliever role which is how I expect we will see him in 2024.

ETA: June 2024

 

Daniel Espino, RHP (Double-A, 6′ 2″, 22)

Year Highest Level IP ERA WHIP K% BB% SwStr
2022 AA 18.1 2.45 0.71 51.5% 5.9% 23%
2023 DNP N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

Overview: Based purely on upside and arm talent, there might not be a better pitcher in the Minor Leagues. Espino’s fastball/slider combination is filthy and is why his career strikeout rate sits above 40%. Espino did not pitch at all in 2023, but the upside could propel him quickly through the Minor Leagues.

Four-Seamer: Espino’s four-seam fastball has the potential to be an elite offering. Sitting consistently in the upper 90s, this pitch has topped out as high as 103. His short arm delivery allows the pitch to sneak up on batters and the excellent late rise and run in on righties allows the pitch to play especially well at the top of the zone.

Changeup: Espino utilizes a changeup to help attack lefties, but he does not go to it very often. According to FanGraphs, the last time we saw him on a mound he threw the pitch under five percent of the time. He has good command of the pitch, but it will be interesting to see if he can get more comfortable throwing it.

Curveball: The curveball is almost as rarely used as his changeup. The pitch sits a few ticks slower than his slider and has decent movement. The pitch really just adds another swing-and-miss pitch to Espino’s already impressive arsenal.

Slider: This is Espino’s money pitch. He is comfortable throwing this pitch to both righties and lefties in any count. He has excellent command with the ability to throw it front door, back door, or any door for that matter. His spin and velocity (near 90 mph) make the pitch virtually unhittable and is a borderline elite offering.

Biggest Concern: Durability is the issue. Espino pitched just 18.1 innings in 2022 and failed to throw a single pitch in 2023. We are not talking about ACL injuries either. Shoulder concerns could force Espino into a high-leverage relief role in the future.

Conclusion: Cleveland is likely to be extremely careful with a talent like Espino. The likelihood of him making his Major League debut in 2024 is low, but he is the kind of talent to make it happen. Fantasy managers should keep their eye on his health early next year because he could be a difference-maker if healthy.

ETA: September 2024

 

Minnesota Twins

David Festa, RHP (Triple-A, 6′ 6″, 23)

Year Highest Level IP ERA WHIP K% BB% SwStr
2022 A/A+ 103.2 2.43 1.09 26.2% 8.2% 16.4%
2023 AA/AAA 92.1 4.19 1.39 30.1% 10.6% 15.8%

Overview: Standing at 6’6″, the biggest question for Festa has always been how well can he repeat his delivery. So far, this has not been an issue for Festa as he has cruised through the Minor Leagues. Now in Triple-A with an enticing three-pitch mix, we should see Festa make his Major League debut in 2024. He struck out over 30% of batters he faced this past season speaking to his fantasy upside.

Four-Seamer: You would think that Festa’s size would create pretty impressive velocity appearances which his not quite the case. His fastball sits in the mid 90s, most frequently around 94, but he does not get the kind of extension to allow the pitch to play higher than that. He gets good IVB on the ball which helps the pitch generate whiffs at the top of the zone. This is a slightly above average pitch which Festa controls well.

Changeup: Festa’s changeup and slider both sit around the same velocity and profile to be strong secondary offerings. The pitch has excellent late life diving both down and away from left-handed batters. He generated a 40.4% whiff rate on it in Triple-A last year.

Slider: The slider is what comes with the most concern for me. Although Festa relies on it heavily, the pitch does not have as much movement as we are used to seeing. This makes his “bad” sliders especially flat and can result in batters doing big damage off of them. Hopefully, the Twins can refine this pitch to get more sweep on it like they have with so many other sliders in the organization.

Biggest Concern: Seeing how his body holds up across a starter’s workload is the biggest question mark. Festa has never eclipsed 103.2 innings in a professional season and pitchers of his size tend to come with durability concerns.

Conclusion: There is a lot to like in Festa’s profile and the fact he is bound to make his debut in 2023 makes things even better. High spin-sliders combined with high IVB fastballs have seen a lot of success in recent years. Consider that neither of those is Festa’s best pitch and there is plenty to dream about. He is a name to watch for on draft day next season.

ETA: May 2024

 

Simeon Woods-Richardson, RHP (Triple-A, 6′ 3″, 23)

Year Highest Level IP ERA WHIP K% BB% SwStr
2022 MLB Stats 5.0 3.60 1.00 15.0% 10.0% 9.9%
2023 MLB Stats 4.2 9.64 2.14 20.8% 12.5% 7.1%

Overview: Woods-Richardson has been a big time prospect in three different systems. First with the Mets, then the Blue Jays, and finally landing with the Twins. The results have gotten progressively worse as he has progressed through the Minor Leagues and his numbers in two brief Big-League stints have been far from impressive.

Four-Seamer: Although Woods-Richardson’s fastball plays above its velocity, the pitch still profiles as below average. Sitting around 90 mph, he struggles to get whiffs on it even with over 18 inches of IVB.

Changeup: The changeup sits in the low 80s and is how SWR likes to attack left-handed batters. He has not shown an ability to command it consistently and was only able to throw it in the zone 48.5% of the time in Triple-A this season.

Slider: Coming through the Minor Leagues, he was known for relying more heavily on a curveball than his slider. He has since all but ditched the curve in favor of his slider. He has added velocity to the pitch although it lacks the late drop or big sweeping action that helps generate whiffs. The pitch profiles close to average and only really effective against right-handed hitters.

Biggest Concern: The lack of a true plus pitch is the biggest concern. Fastball/changeup guys do not usually have much success at the Major League level and that is especially true when the fastball averages below 91 mph.

Conclusion: Sometimes prospects never live up to the hype that they receive while in the Minor Leagues. This is true in this case and at best SWR profiles to be a swingman for Minnesota. There is not much fantasy relevance here or any need for him to be rostered in 2024.

ETA: April 2024

 

Blayne Enlow, RHP (Triple-A, 6′ 3″, 24)

Year Highest Level IP ERA WHIP K% BB% SwStr
2022 A/AA 59.0 4.73 1.63 24.0% 11.4% 12.1%
2023 AA/AAA 99.1 5.35 1.34 25.2% 7.4% 11.3%

Overview: Formerly a third-round pick from 2017, Enlow has slowly worked his way up through Minnesota’s system. Injuries have limited his ability to stay on the field, but he comes with one of the deepest arsenals in the Minor Leagues. The results have been inconsistent, but there is reason to believe that with health will come consistency and hopefully, a fantasy-relevant profile.

Four-Seamer: Early on in his Minor League career, Enlow was sitting 94-96 with his four-seam. However, since his Tommy John surgery, Enlow has been sitting much closer to 92 mph.  Without a ton of movement, this is one of Enlow’s weaker pitches. However, if the velocity comes back he could find more success.

Changeup: Enlow’s changeup is filthy. With a ton of arm-side run and a ton of drop, the pitch is an excellent swing-and-miss pitch. The best part is his comfort in throwing it to both righties and lefties. Visually, this is a plus pitch.

Slider: Like many pitchers in the Twins’ organization, Enlow’s slider is a sweeper. The pitch is thrown in the low-80s with a ton of break. He is still working on developing a consistent feel for it although there is belief this could turn into another plus offering from Enlow.

Curveball: This is his bread-and-butter. Enlow’s curveball is just short of a 12-6 breaker thrown 79-81 mph. Featuring big drop, it is a bit puzzling as to why he did not generate more whiffs on the pitch upon his promotion to Triple-A.

Cutter: For a while it was difficult to differentiate the slider from Enlow’s cutter. Now that the slider has taken more sweeper characteristics, it is easier to decipher. Enlow’s cutter sits about 6 mph faster than the sweeper and provides a nice variant to his four-seamer. He does not get a ton of movement on it, but he leans on it even more than his four-seam.

Biggest Concern: Which Enlow is the real Enlow? Prior to Tommy John surgery, Enlow was a low-variance pitcher who generated few strikeouts. He struggled upon returning to the mound before seeing his numbers take off in Double-A during 2023. Figuring out if he can maintain these numbers consistently is the biggest question mark moving forward.

Conclusion: Enlow’s pitch mix and 2023 results create an intriguing sleeper profile. His Triple-A whiff rates do not jump off the page, but the pure stuff screams that he might be a tweak or two away from having everything click. He is not going to overpower anybody, but in the right matchup, he could be a useful fantasy streamer.

ETA: July 2024

 

Marco Raya, RHP (Double-A, 6′ 1″, 21)

Year Highest Level IP ERA WHIP K% BB% SwStr
2022 A 65.0 3.05 1.08 28.9% 8.7% 14.5%
2023 A+/AA 62.2 4.02 1.07 25.3% 8.6% 12.6%

Overview: Despite being a fourth-round pick in 2020, we had to wait to see Raya pitch on a mound until 2022.  He impressed in his debut posting a 3.05 across 65 innings. A bit undersized, Raya showed off a four-pitch mix that led to a strikeout rate of just under 30%. The Twins are still working on building up his innings, but there is a lot of talent in his profile.

Four-Seamer: There is plenty to like from this offering. Whether it is the upper-90s fastball that can touch triple-digits, or it is the 18.3″ of IVB he gets, this pitch profiles to be a plus offering in the future. Raya attacks hitters at the top of the zone and should continue having success with this pitch.

Changeup: This is such an underrated pitch. Raya’s changeup is filthy sitting in the upper-80s. The pitch consistently hits 89 mph and dives down and away from left-handed batters. Although the pitch is only graded as a 40 FV on FanGraphs, the improvements Raya showed with this last season are enough to convince me this could be at least an average offering.

Slider: This is Raya’s best out-pitch. He will throw his big slider to both righties and lefties. According to MLB.com, the pitch comes with elite spin rates that helps generate a ton of whiffs. He sits 83-85 with it and has excellent control over it.

Curveball: Although he relies on the curveball less than the slider, this is still a strong pitch for Raya. He uses this more against lefties and it sits a bit softer than his slider (79-81 mph). Both have a chance to be plus offerings although the curveball needs a bit more refinement.

Biggest Concern: The ability to handle a starter’s workload. Raya did not throw more than four innings in any start this season and lasted less than three in seven starts. 65 innings pitched is not enough innings to be a Major League starter.

Conclusion: From a pure stuff standpoint, there is a lot to like in Raya’s profile. However, performing well across 65 innings is a lot easier to do than performing well across 165 innings. I do not expect Raya to make his debut next season, but he has enough upside to warrant keeping on your fantasy radars. 2024 marks a big year for his development.

ETA: September 2024

 

Zebby Matthews, RHP (High-A, 6′ 5″, 23)

Year Highest Level IP ERA WHIP K% BB% SwStr
2022 CPX/A 3.0 0.00 0.33 60.0% 0.0% 32.5%
2023 A/A+ 105.1 3.84 1.05 26.4% 3.5% 13.8%

Overview: A late-round selection from 2022, Matthews was excellent in his first full season of professional ball. A true control specialist who is developing increased velocity as well as continually refining his pitch arsenal. He will be 24 in May of next year and could be a fast mover if the strides he made in 2023 stick.

Four-Seamer: Matthews was not known for velocity on his fastball coming out of college, but reports are that his fastball is now sitting around 94 since joining the Twins organization. He has always had excellent feel and increased velocity would certainly raise his ceiling.

Changeup: Matthews does not throw the changeup a lot, but when he does it is primarily to left-handed batters. The pitch sits 84-85 and he is still working to develop a feel for it. He throws it for plenty of strikes, but the overall command on the pitch still requires some improvement.

Slider: As the Twins do, they have worked with Matthews to develop a slider that looks like a sweeper. He is still working on the feel on this, but if there is one organization to trust when it comes to sweepers, it is Minnesota.

Cutter: While his slider has turned into a sweeper, Matthews’ old slider has transformed into more of a cutter. This pitch sits in the upper 80s and is another pitch that is a work in progress. If he continues to improve, this could be an effective pitch to keep batters off of his four-seam.

Biggest Concern: Strikeouts are often easy to come by in the lower levels of the Minor Leagues. The real challenge is maintaining these rates after being promoted. We have already seen his strikeout rate drop from 35.3% in Low-A to 21.5% in High-A.

Conclusion: Any pitcher with a deep arsenal automatically has the potential to make it to the Major Leagues as a starter. The key to Matthews developing into a useful one will be watching to see if he maintains/further improves the velocity on his fastball. There is deep sleeper upside here making Matthews somebody to keep an eye on throughout 2024.

ETA: September 2024

 

AL East

By: Martin Sekulski (@M_Ski22)

Baltimore Orioles

Chayce McDermott, RHP (Triple-A, 6’3″, 25)

Overview: Drafted by Astros in 2021 as inexperienced collegiate arm (139 IP), post Tommy John. Traded to O’s in 2022. Since the trade, has maintained 30+% K-rate, although walks have remained high.

Four-Seam Fastball: Sits low-90s, but can reach 95 mph with plus movement in the zone. Double digit SwStr%. Command issues linger despite bat-missing ability

Curve: Best off-speed offering; mid-to-upper 70s with high spin rates (2800+) with sweeping action

Slider: Nice third pitch with less sweep than curveball; 32.1% Whiff rate

Concerns: Inexperienced arm with command issues, needs to cut down on walks

Conclusion: Orioles have had recent success with late bloomers that feature above-average off-speed pitches (Bradish & Kremer) and McDermott fits the bill. Mid-to-back end rotation piece with high win potential and open rotation spots.

Super Loose ETA:  Darkhorse Opening Day roster candidate; more likely early-summer 2024

 

Cade Povich, LHP (Triple-A, 6’3″, 23)

Overview: JuCo transfer turned Big 10 Pitcher of the Year; 2021 3rd Round Pick (MIN), traded to O’s in 2022; Smooth left-handed delivery with no wasted effort; Five-pitch mix that keeps hitters guessing; Third in strikeouts in MiLB this season

Four-Seam Fastball: Gradually improving velo, currently sits low-90s with the ability to crank up as high as 96mph; throws pitches in all four quadrants

Changeup: Unquestionably best off-speed offering; good depth with fade action yielding highest Whiff% (36%)

Curve: Slow curve with average movement; Generates plenty of whiffs, but susceptible to being hit hard

Slider: Plenty of sweeping movement, but inconsistent depth; tendency to stray away from pitch at times

Cutter: Second most used pitch; still developing but provides nice balance from four-seam; sits in upper-80s

Concerns: Walks have spiked this year but still missing tons of bats; needs to increase slider utilization

Conclusion: Povich offers a consistent look from the left side with three plus offerings; Has mid-rotation upside if he can command all pitches consistently

Super Loose ETA:  June 2024

 

DL Hall, LHP (MLB, 6’2″, 25)

Overview: Former top-5 organizational prospect; 2017 1st round pick; Elite stuff but often injured; Questions long term about starter or reliever, currently in bullpen to maximize innings

Four-Seam Fastball: Throws over 50% of the time; upper-90s, can reach triple-digits with good carry in zone

Changeup: Filthy change with 10-12 mph variance from FB; 12+ inches of horizontal break

Curve: Slow curve with average movement; Generates plenty of whiffs, but susceptible to being hit hard

Slider: Plenty of sweeping movement, but inconsistent depth; tendency to stray away from pitch at times

Concerns: Injuries are a huge concern, in addition to reliever risk

Conclusion: The Orioles love Hall as he’s currently part of their MLB roster working exclusively from the pen; Hall has the best prospect stuff in the organization but the Orioles have not committed his role moving forward.

Super Loose ETA:  Debuted; Opening Day roster 2024

 

Carter Baumler, RHP (Low-A, 6’2″, 21)

Four-Seam Fastball: 90-94 mph, scouts see added velocity when healthy

Changeup: Developing

Curve: Potential plus-pitch, but limited sample

Concerns: Health, health, and more health

Conclusion: The Orioles will need to see a healthy run from Baumler before getting aggressive with him. Just 28 professional innings with positive results.

Super Loose ETA:  Late 2024 at earliest

 

Luis De Leon, LHP (Low-A, 6’3″, 20)

Four-Seam Fastball: Mid-to-upper 90s, scouts see added velocity when healthy

Changeup: Nice speed variance with good fade

Slider: Sharp breaker; able to throw in any count

Concerns: Projectable frame needs to get stronger/bigger

Conclusion: De Leon has what it takes to rise quickly; Continued bat missing and improved walk rates will accelerate his timetable

Super Loose ETA:  Late 2024 at earliest

 

Boston Red Sox

Wikelman Gonzalez, RHP (AA, 6’0″, 20)

Overview: Venezuelan-born right-hander was 2023 Red Sox Minor League Pitcher of the Year; lacks prototypical pitcher size, but makes up for it with plus-stuff

Four-Seam Fastball: Sits mid-90s with carry; loves to finish hitters with the pitch up in the zone

Changeup: Good fade but still a work in progress

Curve: Tantalizing curve that dives late; good depth that plays well off the FB

Concerns: Smaller body poses durability concerns; walk rates continue to climb as he gets to higher levels

Conclusion: Gonzalez is the best arm in the Red Sox system, and seems to figure into their long term plans; He has #2 starter upside if he can tighten up his control

Super Loose ETA:  June-2024

 

Bryan Mata, RHP (AAA, 6’3″, 24)

Four-Seam Fastball: Flat but high-velocity; can easily reach triple-digits but lacks command

Sinker: Easily his best pitch; mid-90s with heavy sink

Slider: More of a sweeping pitch that offers little depth, but does generate 30+% Whiff rates

Changeup: Inconsistent with movement and command; plays up at times but very hittable at others

Concerns: Smaller body poses durability concerns; walk rates continue to climb as he gets to higher levels

Conclusion: Mata has been “on the verge” for a while, but injuries have really derailed his progress. When he’s good, he’s good, but things can go south quickly. Assuming he stays healthy, I think he gets a shot in 2024, possibly as a bulk reliever.

Super Loose ETA:  May 2024

 

Shane Drohan, LHP (AAA, 6’3″, 24)

Four-Seam Fastball: Low-to-mid 90s with some run; sets up the change-up well

Changeup: Absolutely devastating pitch with tons of fade to RHH; elicits plenty of soft contact

Cutter: A true third pitch with mixed results

Slider/Curve: Standard offerings although the curve has seen an uptick in movement and Whiff this season in limited samples

Concerns: Aside from the change-up, the arsenal lacks another quality offering; control will ultimately decide his fate

Conclusion: Drohan came close to debuting this season as the Sox struggled to keep live arms on the mound; he should see starts next season depending on what the team does in FA

Super Loose ETA:  June 2024

 

Luis Perales, RHP (High-A, 6’1″, 20)

Four-Seam Fastball: Low-to-mid 90s with some run; sets up the change-up well

Changeup: Absolutely devastating pitch with tons of fade to RHH; elicits plenty of soft contact

Cutter: A true third pitch with mixed results

Slider/Curve: Standard offerings although the curve has seen an uptick in movement and Whiff this season in limited samples

Concerns: Aside from the change-up, the arsenal lacks another quality offering; control will ultimately decide his fate

Conclusion: Drohan came close to debuting this season as the Sox struggled to keep live arms on the mound; he should see starts next season depending on what the team does in FA

Super Loose ETA:  June 2024

Isaac Coffey, RHP (Double-A, 6’1″, 23)

Jacob Lopez, LHP (MLB, 6’2″, 25)

Sinker: Soft tossing left-hander, sits low-90s; pitch is classified as FB as well, although vertical movement indicates sinking action; arm side run moves away from RHH

Slider: Upper-70s; plays up with deceptive motion; dives away from LHH, towards the back foot on RHH

Changeup: Low-80s with run away from RHH; has periods where it’s very hittable

Concerns: Lopez relies heavily on his deception as the velocity is low and movement is inconsistent. The Rays are as good as anyone at maximizing the performance of fringe SPs and Lopez fits the bill.

Conclusion: My gut tells me Lopez ends up in a lefty specialist role working out of the bullpen. The Rays have had success with similar left-handed arms like Jalen Beeks and Josh Fleming in an opener role as well.

Super Loose ETA: Lopez has already debuted in 2023 but figures to be in the discussion entering next season. The role is to be determined but he holds very little fantasy appeal.

Santiago Suarez, RHP (A, 6’2″, 18)

Fastball: Low 90s consistently but can reach 95mph; good command with the pitch and ability to throw in all quadrants; establishes the zone and plays up well with off-speed

Curve: This is a plus offering for Suarez; big 12-6 movement that buckles hitters; sits upper 70s with high spin

Changeup: Straight change-up that sits low-80s; is a developmental pitch but would play well off of the FB and curve

Concerns: Small sample size (<100IP); fastball velocity is light, but has ticked up in recent months

Conclusion: Suarez has the tools to be very good. He will need to develop and establish a third pitch, ideally the change-up. At just 18 years old, Suarez has an advanced feel for pitching and a smooth, repeatable delivery

Super Loose ETA: Mid 2025

Ian Seymour, LHP (AA, 6′, 24)

Fastball: Low-90s with a ride that plays in any quadrant; pinpoint command; fastball plays up with deception and established four-pitch mix

Slider: Big, sweeping plus slider; dives at the back foot of RHH and away from LHH; upper-70s with great depth

Changeup: Potential double-plus pitch; significant fade to both sides of the plate; “Bugs Bunny” change that makes hitters look foolish

Curve: Average fourth pitch; 11-5 movement plays well off the slider; can be flat at times, but has flashed potential

Concerns: There are natural concerns with a pitcher that’s post-TJ, namely velocity concerns and secondary movement

Conclusion: At his peak, Seymour was filthy. His mechanics are quirky and he hides the ball well. If he bounces back to his pre-TJ form, Seymour has intrigue as a fantasy asset

Super Loose ETA: Late 2024

 

Toronto Blue Jays

Ricky Tiedemann, LHP (AAA, 6’4″, 21)

Fastball: Mid-90s power fastball with sink and cut; 18% SwStr, 30+% Whiff rates; Consistent release from 3/4 arm slot; velocity has been inconsistent since injury

Changeup: Unquestionably his best pitch, among the best change-ups in the Minors; mid-80s with dive, nearly impossible to hit; holds hitters to sub-.200 average against; Whiff rates north of 50% with potential to climb

Sweeper: Rarely used third pitch; has characteristics to be a solid offering but lacks consistency, vindication

Concerns: The concern with Tiedemann is the biceps injury and his subsequent velocity fluctuation since his return

Conclusion: There are few pitching prospects in the game with the same upside as Tiedemann. If he’s healthy, he is an ace. The Jays are going to be super careful with his workload, but he’s ready for the big leagues.

Super Loose ETA: Early-2024, possibly Opening Day rotation

 

Adam Macko, LHP (A+, 6′, 22)

Fastball: Mid-90s regularly but reaches upper-90s; Velocity is enhanced by silly off-speed movement and break; works up in the zone with high velocity looking to put away hitters, but can also dot the inside corner with cut

Curve: Ridiculous depth on this slow breaker; stymies hitters when paired with high-octane fastball; can throw in low-70s, but often sits upper-60s with 12-6 arch

Sweeper: The hardest of his two breaking pitches; sits in the mid-70s with late break and sweep

Concerns: Macko has a track record with injury, namely his elbow. As a result, his timetable has been delayed. Threw a career-high 86 innings in 2023 and will need to build up further before we can consider him a starter.

Conclusion:  The arsenal is there for Macko, but he hasn’t been able to stay on the mound. The Jays need to push him north of 100 innings in 2024 to quiet durability concerns.

Super Loose ETA: Mid-2025, but is health dependent

Hayden Juenger, RHP (AAA, 6′, 23)

Fastball: Easily his most effective pitch; sits 93-95 mph that works well up in the zone; good command of the pitch; 25.9% Whiff rate in AAA with 11.4 SwStr

Slider: Comfortably in the mid-80s; also classified as a cutter but lacks horizontal movement (0.8 horizontal break); works well off FB coming from the same tunnel

Changeup:  Low-80s with decent IVB (9.4); 28.9% Whiff rate; serves its purpose by producing ground balls and keeping hitters off FB

Concerns: Juenger has high reliever risk, evidenced by not going deep into games. He lacks a true breaking pitch that would give hitters even more issues.

Conclusion: If they stretch him out, Juenger has fantasy appeal with high strikeout potential. In the interim, Juenger is a bulk reliever and could be impactful for the Jays in 2024

Super Loose ETA: Early 2024 in a bulk-relief role

Brandon Barriera, LHP (A, 6’2″, 19)

Fastball: Velocity has spiked over the last year, now sitting in the mid-90s but can push triple-digits; consistent tunnel on all offerings, led by fastball with mixed off-speed

Slider: Feature off-speed pitch with big sweep; low-80s

Changeup:  Low-80s; same tunnel as FB with late dive

Concerns: His combination of size and velocity brings serious durability concerns and he’s experienced multiple arm injuries already

Conclusion: There is no doubt about his ability, it’s the durability that is worrisome. He’s just 19 years old and it’s too early to make a full judgement. If we can see him pitch a full season in 2024 with no missed time, Barriera could rocket up prospect boards.

Super Loose ETA:  This is completely health-dependent. As early as 2025, but injuries would obviously slow his development

Chad Dallas, RHP (AA, 5’11”, 23)

Fastball: Sits 93-94 mph with potential to tick up; best when used in sequencing according to scouting reports

Slider: Mid-80s with good sweep and depth; high spin rates; his best pitch overall

Curve: Mid-80s as well, offers little upside with mild bat-missing capabilities

Concerns: Dallas has battled inconsistency with his command and lacks a plus pitch

Conclusion: Despite his 20+% strikeout rate, Dallas doesn’t miss many bats. His SwStr is average but he pitches deep and wins games.

Super Loose ETA: Early 2025, but likely as a reliever

AL West

By: Steve Dwyer (@SteveDwyer23)

Houston Astros

Spencer Arrighetti, RHP (Triple-A, 6’2, 24)

YEAR

HIGHEST LEVEL

IP

ERA

WHIP

K%

BB%

2021

A

13.2

2.63

0.88

40%

3.6%

2022

AA

106.2

4.73

1.46

32.1%

11.6%

2023

AAA

124.2

4.40

1.25

27.1%

11.3%

Overview: One of the best pitching prospects in the Astros system, Arrighetti is a strikeout pitcher. 315 strikeouts in his 245 career minor league innings, Arrighetti has carried this all the way to Triple-A. Knocking on the door of an MLB debut, Arrighetti is an organization that gets the most out of its pitching prospects.

Fastball: His second best pitch is his mid to high 90s fastball. This pitch jumps on hitters and often blows by them.

Curveball: More of a 12-6 breaking pitch compared to his slider, Arrighetti mixes in this curve to freeze hitters. At times he can hang it or miss hit location, so he’ll need to work on commanding this pitch more.

Slider: The best pitch in his arsenal, Arrighetti throws a low to mid-80s slider with great break. Mixed in with his fastball, this is his strikeout pitch as it breaks somewhat like a slurve.

Changeup: His weakest pitch, Arrighetti throws a low to mid-80s changeup that needs to improve with some sort of break.

Biggest Concerns: Command. Arrighetti has had a walk rate of over 11% in his two full minor league seasons. Arrighetti has the stuff to stick as a starter but if the command doesn’t improve, he may move to long relief or a back-end spot in the bullpen.

Conclusion: With Framber Valdez entering arbitration and Justin Verlander only having one more year on his contract, Arrighetti figures to be a part of the Astros rotation in the coming years. He could take the same path as Hunter Brown, pitching in long relief or out of the bullpen in 2024 with a full rotation spot potentially opening in 2025.

ETA: Opening Day 2024

 

Rhett Kouba, RHP (Triple-A, 6’0, 24)

YEAR

HIGHEST LEVEL

IP

ERA

WHIP

K%

BB%

2021

A

18.1

2.45

1.04

27.4%

2.7%

2022

AA

70.2

4.08

1.32

27.9%

8.9%

2023

AAA

128

3.45

1.20

25.3%

6.9%

Overview: Like Arrighetti, Kouba is knocking on the doorstep of making his MLB debut. Kouba pitched great in Double-A in 2023, with a 3.27 ERA and 118 strikeouts in 110 innings. Triple-A was not as successful as he gave up 21 hits in 18 innings. Kouba also saw his walks total 14 in just 18 innings at Triple-A despite only walking 23 in his 110 Double-A innings.

Fastball: Kouba has a 92-94 mph fastball that doesn’t have a ton of movement. It works well with his change and slider but might need some improvement to break in as a starter in the big leagues.

Curveball: The weakest pitch in his bag, Kouba doesn’t throw his curve that often. It sits in the mid to high 70s with decent break.

Slider: A good low to mid-80s slider that breaks across the zone for right-handed hitters, Kouba sometimes doesn’t get the hardest shape on this pitch. If he can consistently throw this pitch with solid movement, he can become a solid starter.

Changeup: The best pitch Kouba throws is his low 80s changeup because of the above-average drop. This has the potential to be a consistently above-average pitch.

Biggest Concerns: Stuff. Kouba has mostly average stuff for a starter. He was hit around at a much higher rate in his short 18-inning stint at Triple-A to end the year. Kouba could be destined for a long relief role but should continue to start while at Triple-A in 2024.

Conclusion: Kouba pitches well and until Triple-A, has had plus command. If advanced hitters lay off the average offerings or square the pitches up, a bullpen role is more likely.

ETA: July 2024

 

Colton Gordon, LHP (Triple-A, 6’4, 25)

YEAR

HIGHEST LEVEL

IP

ERA

WHIP

K%

BB%

2022

A+

53.2

2.35

0.80

38.6%

4%

2023

AAA

128.1

4.14

1.34

27.1%

10.4%

Overview: Drafted in the 8th round in 2021, Gordon made his full season debut across 3 levels in 2022 and excelled. With an elite 4 percent walk rate, Gordon issued just 8 free passes in 53.2 innings. Gordon has racked up the strikeouts in his minor league career with 229 in 182 innings. At 6’4 and 225 pounds, Gordon has a good chance at staying durable throughout the season if he were to eat innings for the Astros in 2024.

Fastball: A low 90s fastball that is more of a location pitch, Gordon mixes in his fastball well with his off-speed to keep hitters guessing.

Curveball: A mid-70s curveball, Gordon gets good break on this pitch and mixes it well with his slider. This pitch likely grades out as average.

Slider: Potentially his best pitch, his slider has good horizontal and vertical breaks and gets it down and in on right-handed hitters.

Changeup: A low 80s changeup, Gordon has another average offering here that sometimes flashes above average. It plays well off his fastball and goes low and away to right-handed hitters.

Biggest Concerns: Command and stuff. As mentioned at the start, Gordon put up an elite walk rate in his first full season but saw it come back down to earth in 2023. Higher level competition seemed to catch up to Gordon and his stuff may play better in a long relief role.

Conclusion: Gordon has spot starter potential for the Astros in 2024 and that could be the way he breaks in with the club. The Astros are in the prime of competing for championships so Gordon may need to mold his role if he struggles at all to start 2024.

ETA: July 2024

 

Jaime Melendez, RHP (Double-A, 5’8, 22)

YEAR

HIGHEST LEVEL

IP

ERA

WHIP

K%

BB%

2019

ROK

28.1

2.86

1.27

33.1%

13.6%

2021

AA

58.0

3.57

1.41

34.4%

12.6%

2022

AA

73.2

5.01

1.49

32.5%

15.6%

2023

AA

9.2

5.59

1.55

18.2%

15.9%

Overview: Melendez reached Double-A in his second professional season at just age 20 but has been stuck there the last two seasons. Now only 22 years old, Melendez has struggled to throw his pitches for strikes as his walk rate climbed to 15.9% this season. A smaller pitching prospect at just 5’8, he could be destined for a 2-inning role out of the bullpen.

Fastball: His best pitch is his mid-90s fastball which has hit higher. Melendez can throw his fastball with some sink inside to right-handed hitters. This pitch gets plenty of swing and miss or weak contact to be an above-average pitch.

Curveball: An 80-mph curve, Melendez throws this pitch well mixed with his slider to provide a different look.

Slider: His second-best offering is his mid-80s slider which could potentially end up being an above-average pitch.

Changeup: If Melendez can locate his changeup more, it could provide another strikeout pitch with his slider and curve. Command is the main issue with this pitch which could force him to the bullpen.

Biggest Concerns: Command and durability. Melendez has flashed the ability to miss bats and limit hits against, but the number of walks surrendered keeps him in trouble. Melendez missed most of the 2023 season due to an unspecified injury, so durability is an issue with the small righty.

Conclusion: Melendez looked to be a promising young pitcher for the Astros after his first two seasons, but the control never improved. In a system that seems to figure out most pitching prospects, the Astros have yet to have things click with Melendez.

ETA: August 2024

 

Andrew Taylor, RHP (Single-A, 6’5, 22)

YEAR

HIGHEST LEVEL

IP

ERA

WHIP

K%

BB%

2023

A

84.0

4.61

1.55

33.8%

11.5%

Overview: Taken 80th overall in 2022, Taylor is a big-time strikeout pitcher. Only reaching Low-A in his first full season, Taylor struggled to limit baserunners. On the positive side, Taylor was able to do what he does best, strikeout hitters. 126 strikeouts in 84 innings, Taylor could easily switch to a high-leverage bullpen role. Taylor should still start in 2024 as he profiles as an inning-eating starter with the ability to rack up the strikeouts.

Fastball: The best pitch Taylor throws, his mid-90s fastball plays up because of the plus spin. It works as a two-seam type of fastball often coming back door against right-handed hitters leaving them frozen.

Curveball: The weakest pitch Taylor throws is his mid to high 70s curve. He doesn’t throw it often but if it develops Taylor could stick as a starter.

Slider: His third offering is a low 80s slider that he mixes in with his curve as a change of pace.

Changeup: His second-best offering is a low 80s changeup with good sink that gets a good amount of swing and misses.

Biggest Concerns: Command. Taylor saw his hits and walks allowed jump in his first season with the Astros. If he wants to continue as a starter, he’ll need to throw his secondaries for strikes.

Conclusion: Taylor threw 84 innings in his final collegiate season as well as his first professional season in Low-A. Oddly enough also struck out 126 batters at both levels, but the walks jumped from 27 to 43. Taylor has a chance to be a mid-rotation starter and the Astros will give him that chance in 2024.

ETA: September 2024

 

Los Angeles Angels

Chase Silseth, RHP (MLB, 6’0, 22)

YEAR

HIGHEST LEVEL

IP

ERA

WHIP

K%

BB%

2021

AA

5.1

10.13

1.50

25.9%

3.7%

2022

MLB

83

2.28

0.95

34.4%/18.6%

8.4%/9.3%

2023

MLB

45.2

2.96

1.18

26.3%/25.3%

10.8%/11.8%

Overview: Silseth has thrown 81 MLB innings over the last two seasons for LA and should get a full season of work in 2024. Drafted in the 11th round in the 2021 MLB Draft, Silseth moved quickly and debuted after just 88.1 minor league innings.

Fastball: Silseth throws a good fastball that averages 95 mph but has hit higher. He mixes in a sinker that lives around 94 mph to change the look of his fastball.

Curveball: Only thrown 2% of the time at the MLB level, Silseth doesn’t have a great feel for his curve.

Slider: His 2700+ spin slider was his second-best offering in 2023 and improved from his slider in 2022. Silseth saw this pitch hit for a .302 average in 2022 and drop way down to .163 in 2023 while throwing it 23.1% of the time.

Changeup: His most effective pitch in 2023, Silseth had a .137 batting average against when he threw his split change.

Biggest Concerns: Stuff. Silseth hasn’t replicated his minor league success in the majors as his walk and hit rates both jumped. Grading out with mostly average stuff, he may be a back-end inning guy with good strikeout potential.

Conclusion: After showing improvement from 2022 to 2023 in the Majors, Silseth should have a good chance in 2024 to solidify himself as an MLB starter. If the Angels roster looks extremely different next year as most expect, Silseth could see an uptick in innings.

ETA: Opening Day 2024

 

Victor Mederos, RHP (MLB, 6’2, 23)

YEAR

HIGHEST LEVEL

IP

ERA

WHIP

K%

BB%

2022

A+

16

5.63

1.50

20.3%

12.2%

2023

MLB

92

5.67

1.48

23.9%/17.6%

10.4%/17.6%

Overview: One of the many Angels pitchers drafted in the last two years to make his MLB debut, Mederos made his debut as a reliever. Starting all 26 of his appearances in the minor leagues, Mederos should have the opportunity to pitch as a start in 2024.

Fastball: His best pitch lives in the upper 90s and has touch 99. Despite having a high walk rate, Mederos has thrown this pitch for a strike.

Curveball: His third offering is his curveball which lacks command and lives in the low 80s. The lack of consistency with this pitch and his changeup may be why Mederos is in the Angels bullpen.

Slider: His best secondary is an upper 80s slider that has the chance to be an above-average pitch. This pitch has good movement and in his short 3 MLB innings, Mederos didn’t give up a hit on this pitch.

Biggest Concerns: Command and relief risk. Mederos gave up 21 home runs in 92 innings at the Double-A level in 2023 while also walking 43 batters. The relief risk may have already taken form as the Angels used Mederos 3 times in 2023 as a one-inning reliever.

Conclusion: If Mederos returns to a starting pitcher role, he has good enough stuff to get guys out. The command is what we’ll be watching as he has deeper outings if the Angels give him that shot, starting in 2024 spring training.

 

Ben Joyce, RHP (MLB, 6’5, 23)

YEAR

HIGHEST LEVEL

IP

ERA

WHIP

K%

BB%

2022

AA

13

2.08

1.15

35.1%

7%

2023

MLB

17.2

4.08

1.25

33.8%/20.8%

18.2%/18.8%

Overview: The flamethrower from Tennessee made headlines all year in college baseball when he hit 105 mph. Knowing he was a reliever, the Angels still drafted Joyce in the third round because of that plus fastball.

Fastball: A plus pitch that averages 100.9 mph, Joyce throws this pitch 79.7% of the time. There is no doubt this is the pitch for Joyce as he has a .207 MLB batting average against.

Slider: His only secondary offering, Joyce throws a high 80s slider to keep hitters guessing. This pitch is an average pitch but combined with a 100-mph fastball plays it up.

Biggest Concerns: Stuff and command. Joyce is a two-pitch pitcher and he throws his fastball most of the time. Joyce has had decent success so far to start his career. If he keeps pumping 100 mph and can develop his slider enough to keep hitters off balance, he’ll be used in important situations. Command has been an issue for Joyce which might keep him away from closer opportunities but is often used in late-inning situations.

Conclusion: Joyce has the heater that makes him a late-inning reliever right off the bat, but he needs to clean up his control. If the command can improve, Joyce may find himself as a closer for a long time at the MLB level.

 

Sam Bachman, RHP (MLB, 6’1, 24)

YEAR

HIGHEST LEVEL

IP

ERA

WHIP

K%

BB%

2021

A+

14.1

3.77

1.19

25.9%

6.9%

2022

AA

43.2

3.92

1.51

15.5%

13.0%

2023

MLB

26.1

5.81

1.33

24.6%/18.2%

16.9%/14.3%

Overview: Drafted 9th overall in 2021, Bachman has yet to live up to that selection. A two-pitch plus offering between his sinker and his slider, Bachman throws those two pitches 98.4 percent of the time. The lack of third-pitch development shut the door on Bachman becoming an MLB starter.

Fastball: Bachman has a fastball that sits in the upper 90s and has touched over 100. Bachman’s fastball didn’t fool MLB hitters as he gave up 7 hits on 23 plate appearances with just two strikeouts when throwing it.

Slider: The best pitch for Bachman is his slider and it has been plus at the MLB level. 11 strikeouts and a .213 batting average against are excellent numbers for a two-pitch pitcher.

Biggest Concerns: Command. Even as a reliever in short outings, Bachman continues to walk batters at a high rate. He can pitch in the back of the bullpen with Ben Joyce, but both need to issue a lot fewer walks to be trusted in those roles.

Conclusion: Bachman, like Joyce, is a true two-pitch reliever. While he doesn’t hit 105 as Joyce has, Bachman has hit 102 and his slider is a better secondary offering. Bachman may end up in the closer role with Joyce as a set-up man.

 

Jack Kochanowicz, RHP (AA, 6’7, 23)

YEAR

HIGHEST LEVEL

IP

ERA

WHIP

K%

BB%

2021

A

83.1

6.91

1.64

19%

9.1%

2022

AA

57.2

4.99

1.30

21.4%

7.3%

2023

AAA

94

5.27

1.36

17%

6.1%

Overview: A huge presence on the mound standing 6 foot 7, Kochanowicz has a repeatable delivery with impressive command. Kochanowicz looked to be having his breakout with Low-A Tri-City to start 2023 where he put up a 1.52 ERA in 23.2 innings with only 3 walks allowed. After a promotion to Double-A the breakout season was put on hold as he allowed more than one hit per inning and only struck out 55 hitters in 70.1 innings.

Fastball: A heater that sits in the mid-90s and can touch higher with good two-seam action. An average to above average pitch, this is the best offering Kochanowicz has.

Slider: An average secondary offering is his low 80s slider which is more of a curveball at times.

Changeup: His best secondary offering is his mid-80s changeup that has good break to it. The command is there for most of his pitches and if he can throw this off the plate a bit more he may get more strikeouts.

Biggest Concerns: Stuff. Kochanowicz lacks true strikeout pitches as he’s only tallied 195 in his 235 minor league innings.

Conclusion: Kochanowicz is a back-end starter who can eat innings with his current stuff. With the low walk rate and average stuff, he may need to work off the plate a little more to find consistent success.

 

Oakland Athletics

Mason Miller, RHP (MLB, 6’5, 25)

YEAR

HIGHEST LEVEL

IP

ERA

WHIP

K%

BB%

2021

ROK

6

1.50

1.17

37.5%

12.5%

2022

AAA

14

3.86

0.79

50%

6%

2023

MLB

19.1

1.86

0.67

50%/27.3%

7.1%/11.5%

Overview: Miller is the top pitching prospect for the A’s and has elite stuff that could give them a frontline starter of the future. Miller has a plus fastball that reaches triple digits and a slider that often gets swings and misses.

Fastball: His best offering, Miller showcased his plus fastball in his brief MLB stint in 2023. His fastball misses bats and blows by Major League hitters for a great strikeout pitch.

Slider: His second-best pitch is a slider that flashes plus. He kept the Mariners off balance with it, throwing 7 no-hit innings with 6 strikeouts which mostly mixed his plus fastball with his slider.

Changeup: His third offering that will need to improve to avoid a relief role is his high 80s changeup. He only threw it 4.9% of the time in the Majors because of the lack of command.

Biggest Concerns: Durability and command. Miller was off to a great start in 2023 after throwing just 39.1 minor league innings. 16 walks in his 33.1 innings at the Major League level isn’t going to cut it if Miller wants to stick as a starter.

Conclusion: Miller has a clear path in the majors for the future, the role is to be determined but the A’s will let him start considering the lack of competition. If Miller can develop his changeup to throw with consistency, he could reach his front-of-the-rotation potential.

ETA: Opening Day

 

Joe Boyle, RHP (Double-A, 6’7, 24)

YEAR

HIGHEST LEVEL

IP

ERA

WHIP

K%

BB%

2021

A

19.2

2.29

1.17

50.6%

17.3%

2022

AA

100.2

2.86

1.29

36.5%

20%

2023

MLB

117.1

3.84

1.50

32.2%/25%

17.8%/8.3%

Overview: Joe Boyle has been one of the most interesting pitching prospects who never had a ton of buzz. A high 90s fastball that touches triple digits consistently, Boyle limits baserunners and strikes them out while doing it. In 2022, Boyle started the year in High-A where he only allowed 25 hits in 74.2 innings. Almost a walk per inning in the minor leagues, Boyle looked to be headed for a bullpen role but a trade to the A’s allowed him to debut as a starter.

Fastball: His best pitch is a high 90s fastball that sits 98-99 mph. Command is the issue with all his pitches and Boyle throws 100 percent every fastball which sometimes causes him to miss his spots.

Curveball: Only thrown 9.6% of the time at the MLB level, Boyle needs to be more consistent with the shape and command of his curve for it to be an above-average pitch.

Slider: Boyle drops in a nasty slider at 85-87 mph that plays well with his 98-99 mph fastball. This pitch lacks consistency as we saw in his short MLB debut.

Biggest Concerns: Command. It’s no secret that Boyle has command issues with 191 walks in 237.2 minor league innings. Boyle only walked 5 batters in his 16 MLB innings to start his career, which is cut in more than half of what his minor league walk percentage has been.

Conclusion: Boyle should get the opportunity to throw a full season at the MLB level as a starter.In his two final starts, Boyle went 6 and 7 innings only walking 3 total batters. The Athletics should be excited about Boyle in 2024.

ETA: Opening Day 2024

 

Joey Estes, RHP (MLB, 6’2, 22)

YEAR

HIGHEST LEVEL

IP

ERA

WHIP

K%

BB%

2019

ROK

10

8.10

1.70

17.4%

15.2%

2021

A

99

2.91

0.96

32.1%

7.3%

2022

A+

91

4.55

1.27

23.8%

7.8%

2023

MLB

137

3.74

1.16

22.8%/14.9%

7.5%/4.3%

Overview: Another trade piece the A’s acquired, Estes broke out in 2021 for the Braves striking out 127 in 99 innings. Coming over as a piece in the Matt Olson trade, Estes moved quickly in 2023 after not pitching above High-A previously.

Fastball: His best pitch is a mid-90s fastball that has gained some velocity as he has matured. A strike thrower, Estes locates his fastball well and uses it to get ahead.

Slider: His best secondary offering is his mid-80s slider which has nasty movement. This pitch plays well with his fastball to accumulate his swing and misses.

Changeup: His third below-average offering is a change of pace changeup that he throws in the mid-80s. He’ll need to develop some more movement on this pitch for it to be an average offering against MLB hitters.

Biggest Concerns: Stuff. Estes has average stuff for a starter and while it may not equate to high strikeouts, he can provide quality innings at the back of a rotation. The changeup will need to improve for Estes to stick around as a consistent starter.

Conclusion: Estes can pitch in the back end of the A’s rotation and should see a full season of MLB innings with Mason Miller and Joe Boyle.

ETA: Opening Day 2024

 

Gunnar Hoglund, RHP (Double-A, 6’4, 24)

YEAR

HIGHEST LEVEL

IP

ERA

WHIP

K%

BB%

2022

A

8.0

0.00

1.00

24.2%

3%

2023

AA

61.0

6.05

1.30

17.8%

4.7%

Overview: Acquired for Matt Chapman, Hoglund was drafted by the Blue Jays 19th overall in 2021 despite recovering from Tommy John. Hoglund looked to be the first-round pitching prospect the Jays thought as he threw 8 scoreless innings for Oakland between rookie ball and Low-A Stockton. Hoglund has elite control with a sub-5 % walk rate in his minor league career despite struggling in 2023 otherwise.

Fastball: A mid-90s fastball in college was the best offering Hoglund had but after Tommy John, it was in the low 90s. Hoglund gave up a lot of hard contact on this pitch in 2023 and will hopefully regain his velocity in 2024.

Curveball: A pitch that I haven’t seen Hoglund throw that often for a strikeout pitch, it has a different look that keeps hitters thinking.

Slider: Now his best pitch, his slider has good break that dives in against lefties, and he gets a good amount of swing and misses on this pitch.

Changeup: His second best offering which could end up being his best, is his changeup which has good sink to it at 83 mph. Sometimes Hoglund doesn’t get as much movement as he’d like but when he mixes this pitch with his fastball, he often sees success.

Biggest Concerns: Recovery, durability, and stuff. Hoglund saw a very inflated ERA in 2023 after struggling in Low-A for most of the year. Hoglund was hit hard in Low-A giving up 9 home runs in 43.1 innings and 56 hits total. He could still be ramping back up from Tommy John as he’s shown the ability to get advanced hitters out.

Conclusion: Hoglund ended the year at Double-A, and he figures to start 2024 there. With 3 promising pitching prospects already breaking in at the MLB level, the A’s could want to see how Hoglund fares sooner rather than later.

ETA: July 2024

 

Brady Basso, LHP (Double-A, 6’2, 26)

YEAR

HIGHEST LEVEL

IP

ERA

WHIP

K%

BB%

2019

ROK

25.2

1.75

1.09

35.8%

7.5%

2021

A+

21

4.71

1.33

28.3%

7.6%

2023

AA

63.1

2.42

0.98

26.3%

6.2%

Overview: One of the older pitching prospects for the A’s, Basso is 26 but reached Double-A in 2023. Given his age, Basso should get a shot in spring training to compete for a starting spot in the 2024 Oakland rotation.

Fastball: A low to mid-90s fastball, Basso throws it for a strike often as he does with most of his pitches. An average offering, he locates it well to get a strike when needed. He throws this fastball mixed in with a cut fastball that has the potential to be an above-average pitch at times.

Curveball: His best offering, Basso has a big mis 70s curve that misses a lot of bats. This pitch will be crucial to getting advanced hitters out as he’s gotten a ton of success so far with that pitch.

Changeup: His weakest offering, Basso doesn’t throw it often but he uses it as a different look every now and then.

Biggest Concerns: Stuff. Basso might not have major strikeout stuff, but he can certainly get outs with his average to above-average 4-pitch mix. 128 strikeouts in his 110 minor league innings is a great sign but we’ll need to see the stuff get more advanced hitters in 2023.

Conclusion: Still only 110 innings into his professional career, the A’s could choose to start Basso at Triple-A in 2024. Basso was coming off Tommy John so we may see the A’s let him loose a little bit in 2023. The A’s most likely won’t be competing again in 2024 so these young pitchers should all get a shot to see what they can do at the MLB level.

ETA: May 2024

 

Seattle Mariners

Emerson Hancock, RHP (MLB, 6’4, 24)

YEAR

HIGHEST LEVEL

IP

ERA

WHIP

K%

BB%

2021

AA

44.2

2.62

1.03

24%

9.5%

2022

AA

98.1

3.75

1.20

22.3%

9.2%

2023

MLB

98.0

4.32

1.23

26%/12.2%

9.2%/6.1%

Overview: Drafted 6th overall in 2020, Hancock was looking like a front-of-the-rotation pitcher. A shoulder injury has slowed him down and his stuff took a minor step back. Still a solid 4-pitch mix, Hancock needs his fastball velocity to creep back up to the upper 90s consistently.

Fastball: Hancock has a fastball that grades out as average now and sits in the mid-90s. More of a command over stuff fastball, Hancock locates it well. Good sinking action, Hancock keeps it down in the zone most of the time.

Slider: A solid upper 80s slider, Hancock gets weak contact on his slider. This has the chance to be an above-average pitch.

Changeup: His best pitch, Hancock throws a good changeup that fades away against left-handed hitters. He only threw it 12.9% of the time in his short MLB debut but the movement was there.

Biggest Concerns: Stuff. Hancock had good stuff before his shoulder injury but even then, he never racked up a ton of strikeouts. Hancock may lack value if he can’t put up high strikeout numbers with regression in stuff.

Conclusion: Drafted as a potential #2/#3 starter with plus command, Hancock lost some of his stuff and is trending towards more of a back-end starter. He should get a good look in 2024 spring training and throughout the year to see if he can succeed at the MLB level.

ETA: Opening Day 2024

 

Taylor Dollard, RHP (Triple-A, 6’3, 24)

YEAR

HIGHEST LEVEL

IP

ERA

WHIP

K%

BB%

2021

A+

105

5.14

1.35

29%

5.2%

2022

AA

144

2.25

0.95

22.9%

5.4%

2023

AAA

8.1

7.56

1.44

22.2%

8.3%

Overview: Dollard broke out in 2022 where he threw to a 2.25 ERA at the Double-A level, only allowing 106 hits in 144 innings. Dollard displayed good command and decent strikeout numbers looking like a potential #3 starter. 2023 was not as kind to Dollard as he threw only 8.1 innings and ended up needing labrum surgery.

Fastball: An average low 90s fastball, Dollard commands it well to give him a successful pitch to get ahead of hitters.

Curveball: His curve is an offering in the low 70s that throws the hitters’ timing and eye level off. This pitch is good mixed in as Dollard doesn’t have a dominant pitch.

Slider: His best offering is his upper 70s/low 80s slider that he throws again is commanded well, giving him a pitch that he can do for strikes.

Changeup: A low 80s changeup has a chance to be an average pitch. This pitch gives him the ability to show a different speed while commanding it just as well as his other pitches.

Biggest Concerns: Injury. We’ll see how Dollard can bounce back in 2024 while recovering from his torn labrum. Hopefully, we see more of his 2022 season when he returns to the mound where he displayed excellent command.

Conclusion: Dollard displays the ability to command his pitches well and if the stuff doesn’t play in the majors he could end up as a long reliever. The trust in Dollard could be advantageous for risky situations when you need a strike thrower so Dollard should hold value for the Mariners in the future.

ETA: July 2024

 

Jimmy Joyce, RHP (Double-A, 6’2, 25)

YEAR

HIGHEST LEVEL

IP

ERA

WHIP

K%

BB%

2021

A+

22.1

3.22

1.25

31.6%

7.1%

2022

A+

121.0

5.58

1.37

25.9%

10%

2023

AA

70.0

2.57

1.10

28.9%

7%

Overview: A 16th-round pick in 2021, Joyce has exceeded expectations breaking out in 2023. Joyce started 16 games and pitched to a 2.57 ERA on the season between High-A and Double-A. His stuff won’t blow hitters away, but he had enough movement to strikeout 83 in 70 innings.

Fastball: A low 90s fastball, Joyce has a big leg kick and shields the ball until late in his delivery which adds to his success.

Curveball: His third pitch is a low 80s curve that has a lot of break to it. This adds a change of pace to the other offerings Joyce throws.

Changeup: His best pitch, Joyce has a low to mid-80s changeup that has the typical fade to it. This pitch pairs well with his fastball and gets him swings and misses.

Biggest Concerns: Stuff and command. Joyce has average stuff across the board, and it may play up in a shorter role. He could stick as a starter if he improves his command, but it seems he’s destined for a bullpen role at the big-league level.

Conclusion: Joyce may wind up in the bullpen due to a lack of plus offerings, but he could be a long reliever providing much-needed innings support over a long season.

ETA: August 2024

 

Prelander Berroa RHP (MLB, 5’11, 23)

YEAR

HIGHEST LEVEL

IP

ERA

WHIP

K%

BB%

2017

ROK

17.2

5.60

2.09

17.8%

12.2%

2018

ROK

41.2

2.81

1.22

23.7%

10.4%

2019

ROK

50.2

5.86

1.44

24.6%

11.6%

2021

A

98.2

3.56

1.34

32.2%

12.6%

2022

AA

100.2

2.86

1.16

36.5%

15.3%

2023

MLB

65.1

2.89

1.29

36.6%

14.1%

 

 

Overview: Berroa has been an intriguing pitcher for a while now, but lack of command has always held him back. Forcing him to the bullpen Berroa has excelled with 2 plus pitches and a third average pitch.

Fastball: His best offering is his mid to high 90s fastball that has touched triple digits.

Slider: His slider is his strikeout pitch if he’s not blowing his fastball by guys. A low to mid-80s slider stuck out a lot of batters when he was starting in the minors.

Changeup: In his two innings in the Majors Berroa didn’t throw his changeup once and in a bullpen role I don’t expect to see it at all.

Biggest Concerns: Command. The lack of command forced him to the bullpen to make his MLB debut. If it holds up in shorter stints the Mariners will most likely keep him in the bullpen. If Berroa was on a bad team, we could see him get a shot as a starter but that is unlikely for the Mariners.

Conclusion: Berroa may be a high-leverage guy out of the bullpen for the Mariners with Andres Munoz. Berroa may have had something to do with the Mariners feeling okay trading Paul Sewald at the deadline last season. If he sticks in the bullpen, he can still provide some value.

ETA: Opening Day 2024

 

Marcelo Perez, RHP (High-A, 5’10, 24)

YEAR

HIGHEST LEVEL

IP

ERA

WHIP

K%

BB%

2023

A+

74.2

3.38

1.15

25.1%

7.9%

 

 

Overview: Drafted in the 11th round in 2022, Perez made his debut in 2023 at the High-A level. A smaller pitching prospect at 5’10, Perez may have some durability concerns. No dominant pitch that stands out, Perez may move to the bullpen.

Fastball: A low 90s fastball with good movement, Perez uses this pitch to break in toward right-handed hitters. This pitch goes well with his slider that breaks the opposite way with slightly less velocity.

Slider: His best pitch, Perez throws a mid-80s slider that misses a lot of bats for his go-to strikeout pitch.

Changeup: His third offering that is well behind his other two, Perez doesn’t use it often.

Biggest Concerns: Stuff and durability. Perez may not have the stuff to hold up as a starter, but he held up fine at High-A in 2023. Perez should start the 2024 season in Double-A and advanced competition should show us what role Perez is destined to fill.

Conclusion: Perez might be a reliever in the future but after a successful first full season, the Mariners may want to work on his third pitch and keep him starting. The fastball and slider are good enough to throw for 5-6 innings but he’ll need to develop that changeup as he climbs through the farm.

ETA: September 2024

 

Texas Rangers

Owen White, RHP (MLB, 6’3, 24)

YEAR

HIGHEST LEVEL

IP

ERA

WHIP

K%

BB%

2021

A

35.1

3.06

1.08

39.7%

8.5%

2022

AA

80.0

3.59

1.16

31.7%

7%

2023

MLB

108.2

4.22

1.35

17.2%

11.9%

Overview: White has been a top pitching prospect in the Rangers organization since being drafted in the second round. 2022 had White looking like he could be at the top of the Texas Rangers rotation for a while, but a lot of regression came in 2023.

Fastball: A solid offering with the chance to be above average, White has a low to mid-90s fastball with good two-seam action. White got a lot of swing-and-miss on this pitch in the minors.

Curveball: A solid pitch for White, he needs to keep his curve down in the zone more. When he did this, he was able to get some swing and miss.

Slider: The best pitch for White is his mid to high 80s slider with plus movement. This plays well with his curve showing more of a vertical break.

Changeup: His mid-80s changeup is the pitch that needs the most improvement. If he can command it more consistently, he’ll have a shot at 4 average to above-average pitches.

Biggest Concerns: Command and stuff. White struggled with his command in 2023, walking 55 in 108.2 innings. White has an above-average slider that is his strikeout pitch, but the lack of other plus offerings limits White to a #3 starter. A jump in his walk rate, combined with a strikeout rate that was cut in half from his previous two seasons led to a disappointing 2023 overall.

Conclusion: Likely a mid-rotation pitcher, White lacks the elite stuff to be a front-of-the-rotation pitcher right now. White will have a chance to win a starting rotation spot during spring training in 2024.

ETA: Opening Day 2024

 

Jack Leiter, RHP (Triple-A, 6’1, 23)

YEAR

HIGHEST LEVEL

IP

ERA

WHIP

K%

BB%

2022

AA

92.2

5.54

1.55

25.6%

13.2%

2023

MLB

85.0

5.19

1.46

30.7%

13.2%

Overview: One of the most hyped pitchers in recent years, Leiter has not lived up to the hype. The Rangers were aggressive by assigning Leiter to Double-A after being drafted. Leiter was hurt by lack of command and hurt by the long ball. Leiter has a plus pitch with his slider and a fastball and curve that flash plus as well.

Fastball: His best pitch in college, Leiter hasn’t found the same success with it in the pros. The movement and velocity were down from what we saw at Vanderbilt, but he still gets plenty of swings and misses on this above-average pitch.

Curveball: Another pitch we saw Leiter dominate with in college was his power curve. This pitch has yet to translate to a plus pitch in the pros but still flashes dominance.

Slider: His second-best offering to his fastball, Leiter throws a good breaking slider with plus velocity. This pitch and his fastball still have the potential to live as plus pitches and rack up the strikeouts.

Changeup: His weakest pith is his mid-80s changeup which he doesn’t throw often. He’ll need to improve the command and shape of this pitch more consistently.

Biggest Concerns: Command. Leiter has struggled mightily with the command of his pitches. The fastball hasn’t played at times as well as it did it college for Leiter. No in-depth analysis is needed to know that Leiter needs to cut down on the walks or he won’t replicate his college dominance.

Conclusion: The stuff is there for Leiter to succeed and at times Leiter has looked like the pitcher we saw in college. Both seasons ended with ugly ERA numbers for Leiter, but the walks put him in a tough position to succeed.

ETA: June 2024

 

Josh Stephan, RHP (Double-A, 6’3, 22)

YEAR

HIGHEST LEVEL

IP

ERA

WHIP

K%

BB%

2021

A

40.0

5.18

1.28

29.1%

9.3%

2022

A+

103.1

3.14

1.11

27.3%

7.3%

2023

AA

66.2

2.30

0.84

30.8%

5.1%

Overview: Stephan has steadily improved each of his professional seasons with 3 solid offerings and command. More of a finesse pitcher, Stephan misses bats and leaves hitters frozen with his above-average slider.

Fastball: A low 90s fastball, Stephan throws it with some sink

Slider: Stephan uses this above-average low to mid-80s slider as his strikeout pitch. It has good break and gets a lot of right-handed hitters to swing and miss.

Changeup: An average to above average offering, Stephan mixes in a changeup with his slider to keep hitters guessing. This pitch is used a lot to set up hitters for a strikeout on his slider.

Biggest Concerns: Secondary stuff. Stephan has a good feel for all 3 of his pitches. Right now, his pitches all show average to above average with his slider showing a chance to be a true strikeout pitch.

Conclusion: Above-average command and the ability to miss bats have given Stephan a low whip in each of his 3 professional seasons. Stephan has an athletic build and smooth delivery that is very low effort. Stephan has the potential to be a #3 starter and will face a real test in 2024 starting at the Double-A level.

ETA: August 2024

 

Kumar Rocker, RHP (High-A, 6’5, 24)

YEAR

HIGHEST LEVEL

IP

ERA

WHIP

K%

BB%

2023

A+

28.0

3.86

1.00

37.8%

6.3%

Overview: Like Leiter, Rocker was one of the most hyped pitching prospects in recent years. After failing to sign with the Mets due to potential arm issues, Rocker signed with the Rangers the next year and had Tommy John after just 28 innings with High-A Hickory. Unlike Leiter, Rocker looked to be living up to his potential with 42 strikeouts in 28 innings. Every start Rocker had for Hickory looked to be too much for that level of competition. In the first start of 2023, Rocker struck out 8 in 5 innings with most swing and misses coming on his slider.

Fastball: One of his three plus pitches, Rocker showed a great feel in High-A for his fastball and blew it by the younger competition. This pitch has great two-seam action that generates plenty of swing and miss.

Curveball: An above-average curve that flashes as a plus pitch, Rocker throws his curveball for a strike and gets a lot of swings and misses on this pitch in High-A as well.

Slider: His best offering, Rocker racked up the swing and miss with this pitch as well. More consistent than his curveball, his slider sits in the mid-80s with great horizontal break.

Changeup: His weakest pitch, Rocker doesn’t throw his changeup often as he has yet to need it. Rocker may never need this pitch to be successful as his other three offerings are all phenomenal.

Biggest Concerns: Durability. The Mets felt Rocker had enough of an arm issue not to sign him and in the short term they may have been correct. If Rocker can recover from Tommy John like a lot of pitchers have, we’ll see if he can be the same pitcher he once was.

Conclusion: Tough to predict how Rocker will bounce back, but he had Tommy John early enough in the 2023 season. Assuming it takes a year to recover, Rocker should be fully healthy by June 1st. The Rangers will look to ease him back into pitching, but once he is a full go, Rocker could be pitching in Texas by August.

ETA: August 2024

 

Mitch Bratt, LHP (High-A, 6’1, 20)

YEAR

HIGHEST LEVEL

IP

ERA

WHIP

K%

BB%

2021

ROK

6

0.00

0.67

54.2%

0%

2022

A

80.2

2.45

1.17

29.5%

8.3%

2023

A+

61.0

3.54

1.26

27.7%

6.4%

Overview: Most fans got their first Mitch Bratt experience in the 2023 World Baseball Classic against the stacked United States lineup. Bratt struggled in a start that was tough to watch, allowing 6 runs on 3 walks and 3 hits. Tough to expect much from a 19-year-old kid who hadn’t pitched above Low-A. Bratt went on to pitch for Texas at the High-A level in 2023 and continued his success against competition closer to his age. With a 3.54 ERA with 73 strikeouts in 61 innings, Bratt showed why he has the potential to be a mid-rotation starter as a crafty lefty.

Fastball: A low to mid-90s fastball, Bratt locates it well. An average pitch, Bratt uses it to get ahead of hitters.It didn’t fool the star-studded USA lineup in the WBC.

Curveball: A good secondary, Bratt throws a mid-70s curve with big breaking action. This pitch has generated some swing-and-miss from lower-level hitters.

Slider: A low 80s slider, Bratt throws this average pitch for a strike while also accumulating some swing and miss. If this pitch can gain some velocity, he’s looking at an above-average secondary.

Changeup: Mixed reviews from his changeup, Bratt throws it for a strike, but it seems to grade out as an average pitch at best.

Biggest Concerns: Plus stuff. Bratt lacks a pitch that can blow away hitters, but he keeps them off balance with a good 4 pitch mix. Bratt has a good changeup that will need to at least flash plus at times for him to continue his success.

Conclusion: Bratt doesn’t turn 21 until July 2024 so time is on his side. In an at-bat in March 2023, Bratt faced young superstars Ethan Salas and Samuel Zavala in a complex game where he got Salas to ground weakly to the second baseman and Zavala to strikeout on an ugly swing. Double-A could show us what type of pitcher Bratt will be in the future.

ETA: September 2024

 

NL Central

By: Matt Heckman (@Heckman_matt115)

St. Louis Cardinals

Gordon Graceffo RHP (Triple-A, 6′ 4″, 23)

Year Highest Level IP ERA WHIP K% BB% SwStr
2022 A+/AA 139.1 2.97 0.94 25.6% 5.1% 14.5%
2023 AAA 86.0 4.92 1.53 20.9% 11.6% 10.4%

Overview: Last season, Graceffo was the talk of the dynasty community. He posted a 0.99 ERA across his first eight starts of 2022 and continued his strong season after a promotion to Double-A. His strikeout rate has come down since advancing to the upper levels of the Minor Leagues, but there is still enough in his profile to project a solid starting pitcher.

Four-Seamer: Graceffo does not overpower batters at the plate, but his strong control and ability to work all parts of the plate help his fastball perform well. He should probably stop throwing this pitch nearly 60% of the time though since it only projects to be an average offering.

Changeup: This is the one pitch that I want Graceffo to throw more. His changeup comes with incredible movement diving in on right-handed batters and disappearing against lefties. He does not have the best control over it yet, but when he locates it well it is a difficult pitch to hit.

Slider: Graceffo’s slider is a gyro slider that is his go-to pitch with two strikes. He generated a whiff rate of 38.9% on the pitch last year in Triple-A and is likely a plus offering thanks to his strong command of it.

Curveball: A big-breaker that does not generate a ton of whiffs. The issue is that as Graceffo comes straight over the top, hitters can easily pick up the different movements on his curveball. This prevents the pitch from playing as well as the movement suggests and likely lands this pitch close to average long-term.

Biggest Concern: Will Graceffo be able to generate whiffs with anything other than his slider? His curveball seems like the most likely avenue for this to happen but if not, Graceffo could see disappointing strikeout rates continue as he advances to the Major Leagues.

Conclusion: The on-paper results from 2023 were disappointing. Even if you look past his ERA, you would hope for a higher strikeout rate from a pitcher you are targeting in dynasty leagues. That being said, his excellent slider and deep arsenal create a floor that should translate into a solid Major League pitcher. He appears to be next in line for a spot in St. Louis’ suspect rotation.

ETA: May 2024

 

Michael McGreevy, RHP (Triple-A, 6′ 4″, 23)

Year Highest Level IP ERA WHIP K% BB% SwStr
2022 A+/AA 144.1 3.99 1.25 199.8% 5.1% 9.4%
2023 AA/AAA 153.0 4.12 1.41 18.5% 5.7% 9.6%

 

Overview: There are few pitchers in the Minor Leagues that throw as many strikes as McGreevy. If you are looking to find somebody who pitches rather than throws, then McGreevy is your guy. The strikeout rates have never been high (and likely never will), but that does not mean he does not project to be a Major League starter. That being said he might be a better real-life pitcher than a fantasy pitcher.

Four-Seamer: His four-seam sits a tick or two faster than his sinker. He is throwing this pitch less and less which is for the best. He is a control artist and somebody who needs to pitch to contact. The sinker gives him the best chance to do this successfully unlike his below-average four-seam.

Changeup: McGreevy’s changeup comes with a lot of late life. The pitch dives away from left-handed batters (although lefties still hit .308 off of him last season). The movement is nice, but he needs to generate more whiffs for the pitch to be above-average.

Slider: This is his best pitch. The gyro slider is his best strikeout pitch and one he is comfortable throwing in any count. He averages around 85 mph on the pitch and profiles to be a slightly above-average offering.

Curveball: I have not been able to get a ton of looks at McGreevy’s curveball. He does not throw it much and he did not generate many whiffs on it. FanGraphs gave it a 50 FV, although from what I see this is based more on command than overall movement and potential.

Sinker: The inability to consistently keep the sinker down in the zone is what got McGreevy in trouble in 2023. Sinkers are supposed to keep the ball in the park, but McGreevy surrendered 1.14 HR/9 last season. He throws plenty of strikes with it, but sometimes the pitches are a little bit too hittable.

Biggest Concern: The lack of strikeouts projects to significantly impact McGreevy’s fantasy value. To maintain fantasy relevance, McGreevy will need to be elite at limiting hard contact. Keeping Major League batters off balance is not quite as easy as doing that to hitters in the Minor Leagues.

Conclusion: There are only a handful of true sinker ball pitchers who find long-term success at the Major League level. With no track record of strikeouts, he projects to be nothing more than a streaming option for fantasy players. Already in Triple-A, he will make his debut next season for St. Louis.

ETA: June 2024

 

Sem Robberse, RHP (Double-A, 6′ 4″, 22)

Year Highest Level IP ERA WHIP K% BB% SwStr
2022 A+/AA 111.1 3.23 1.16 21.0% 7.4% 12.4%
2023 AA/AAA 124.0 4.28 1.35 24.1% 10.6% 14.4%

 

Overview: Rarely do we see pitchers signed out of the Netherlands, but that is exactly the story with Robberse. Signed by the Blue Jays at just 17 years old, Robberse looked great in 10 innings prior to the pandemic. He progressed slowly through the Minor Leagues before being traded from Toronto to St. Louis at this year’s deadline. His strikeout rate spiked this season and has the looks of somebody who is starting to put everything together.

Four-Seamer: Despite mediocre velocity, Robberse leans heavily on his fastball to attack opposing batters. The pitch sits in the lower 90s. His long arm action does not create as much extension as you would think although there remains enough physical projection from his 6’1″ frame to believe he could add velocity. Where things stand this is a below-average pitch.

Changeup: Although his changeup is not used a whole lot, he gets plenty of swings-and-misses off of it. The pitch dives down and away from lefties and sits in the upper 80s. This is a slightly above-average pitch that could take him to the next level if he develops more control over it.

Slider: Reports on the slider cite this as his best pitch. The pitch takes a gyro shape and sits around 87 mph. He generated a whiff rate of over 30% in Triple-A although there are reports that he can be inconsistent with the pitch’s location. This would help explain why the average exit velocity off of the pitch is over 92 mph.

Curveball: Although the curveball is not talked about as much as his slider, he had a good amount of success with the pitch in 2023. The pitch has more horizontal depth to it than some other curves, but this helps the pitch appear like some of his sliders. He got excellent whiff rates on it in Triple-A and this appears to be another plus secondary for Robberse.

Biggest Concern: Since being promoted to Double-A, Robberse has struggled to limit the long ball. You have to wonder if his lack of fastball velocity is the primary reason for this happening. If he cannot prevent home runs, he is going to continue posting high ERAs.

Conclusion: Robberse has three breaking balls that he can get whiffs with. The numbers have not always been pretty, but he has already made it to Triple-A and is only 22 years old. In an ideal world, the Cardinals will get Robberse to reduce his fastball usage and lean on those breaking balls. He is an underrated pitcher to keep on your radars for 2024.

ETA: May 2024

 

Tink Hence, RHP (Double-A, 6′ 1″, 21)

Year Highest Level IP ERA WHIP K% BB% SwStr
2022 A 52.1 1.38 0.88 41.5% 7.3% 16.3%
2023 A+/AA 96.0 4.31 1.33 24.5% 8.4% 12.3%

Overview: An electric first full season in 2022 officially put Hence toward the top of dynasty manager’s radars. A superb fastball/slider combination that was put on full display in the AFL last season only heightened the hype surrounding him. There have always been relief concerns surrounding his profile, but a career-high 96 innings in 2023 has dynasty managers excited despite disappointing on-field results.

Four-Seamer: Lanky, athletic, and a bit chaotic through his wind-up, Hence provides deception from the start. Add in a fastball that sits 96-98 on the gun with a ton of arm-side run and you get one of the best fastballs in the Minor Leagues. Hence can be effectively wild with it at times, but there are few fastballs that have as much potential as his.

Changeup: Developing a changeup is going to be the biggest test for Hence. He throws one now but does not have a lot of command on it. His changeup is only given a 30 grade by FanGraphs and there is clearly a lot to work with.

Curveball: Some people say that Hence throws both a slider and a curveball. Others have him throwing just one pitch. From watching him, this pitch takes on a slurve action. Sometimes it is more sliderish, other times more curveish. Regardless, the pitch comes with excellent movement and Hence controls it well. This is a plus-plus offering and one that will play well starting or out of the pen.

Biggest Concern: Hence is still only 21 years old but in his first two professional seasons he has thrown 52.1 and 96 innings pitched respectfully. Durability concerns along with his reliance on a two-pitch mix have always cast some concern of relief risk and those concerns remain prevalent today.

Conclusion: With how impressive his fastball and slider are, it is easy to dream about Hence’s potential. You would think a pitcher with his kind of stuff would generate more strikeouts than he has, making this an interesting point to watch in 2024. If everything clicks we could see Hence in St. Louis before the end of next season.

ETA: August 2024

 

Tekoah Roby, RHP (Double-A, 6′ 1″, 22)

Year Highest Level IP ERA WHIP K% BB% SwStr
2022 A+ 104.2 4.64 1.24 28.4% 7.9% 14.2%
2023 AA 58.1 4.63 1.20 28.9% 6.3% 15.7%

 

Overview: The former third-round pick has been one of the fastest risers since the 2023 Trade Deadline. Drafted by Texas, Roby put up solid strikeout-to-walk ratios his first two seasons leaning heavily on his curveball. Excellent control with a deep starter’s arsenal is the dream for every pitching prospect and Roby has a chance to be special.

Four-Seamer: Coming nearly right over the top, Roby gets the visual appearance of a late rise on batters causing many to be late. He sits in the mid-90s consistently touching as high as 98. Scouts rave about the spin on this pitch and it easily profiles to be a plus offering.

Changeup: His changeup dives in on right-handed batters and is an underrated pitch in his arsenal. He effectively keeps lefties off balance with it and appears to have a good feel for it. Roby considers this his fourth pitch, but it is effective nonetheless.

Slider: The slider is still a work in progress. The pitch has solid movement, but considering he just added it in the summer of 2022, he still has a ways to go. He throws it harder than his curveball but does not have the same kind of feel for it yet.

Curveball: With true 12-6 action, Roby has an excellent feel for the pitch. He will throw it in any count and batters consistently chase it. He sits around 78 most nights and is his most effective breaking ball.

Biggest Concern: Roby has only cleared 100 innings one time in his professional career. Although he has all of the looks of a starter on the mound, it is fair to wonder if his arm can hold up over the course of an entire season.

Conclusion: The upside is there for Roby to be a strong number two starter at the Major League level. A four-pitch mix with excellent control and command provides a floor that few other starting pitchers have. If he can remain healthy next season there is a strong chance we get to see Roby make his Major League debut.

ETA: August 2024

 

Cincinnati Reds

 

Chicago Cubs

 

Pittsburgh Pirates

 

Milwaukee Brewers

5 responses to “Top Pitching Prospects For Fantasy Baseball 2024”

  1. Joe Wells says:

    Wow, that is a lot of words about a lot of dudes. This is going to be super handy. Thanks for this, great work

  2. martin mcgrath says:

    great piece of work..ty Matt

  3. Mike B says:

    Incredible amount of depth here. Really impressive write-up!

  4. martin mcgrath says:

    I did have one disappointment…I wish all of the authors would have included the ages of the prospects.

    otherwise, great piece of work…ty.

  5. Jeff says:

    this was one of the best, most comprehensive articles on pitching prospects that i’ve read in awhile. you hit all the big names, but i loved the inclusion of lesser known guys on the cusp of making a MLB roster—even as a spot starter. Kudos!!!

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